Maplesville town hall meeting discusses concerns for the future

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff member

Facility needs and decreasing enrollment were a few of the concerns Maplesville community members voiced during a town hall meeting held by Chilton County Schools Superintendent Tommy Glasscock on July 25.

Audience members voiced the need for additional custodial staff and upgrades to the restrooms. The school has one full-time and one part-time custodian. A teacher present said teachers are cleaning to fill the gap. One teacher who was present said the restrooms are the same as they were when she attended the school. Restroom upgrades have also been listed as a need on student surveys at the end of the school year. Glasscock said upgrades to the restrooms could be addressed.

An audience member asked what was being done to plan for replacing old school buildings. He said Maplesville and Thorsby are 60 years old. One audience member said Maplesville had several out-of-county students until the school system implemented a $250 a semester fee for out-of-county students.

“From a strategic plan standpoint there are two ways that you can build a new school and I don’t know that anybody is excited about raising property taxes,” Glasscock said.

He said the other way to have the needed funds is for the state to borrow the amount needed.

Maplesville is the smallest K-12 school in Chilton County. Isabella High School is the largest K-12 school in the county. A Maplesville teacher at the town hall meeting said there are several students who live in Maplesville, but choose to attend Isabella. Glasscock said a study could be conducted into how many students from Maplesville are attending other schools.

Future plans could bring more students to the school.

“We would love to see a pre-K program for Maplesville,” Glasscock said.

Such a program would require receiving a grant.

Community support for MHS has been consistent

“I don’t think we’ve ever asked for anything for the school that the town of Maplesville didn’t step up and make a donation to,” Glasscock said.

During the meeting, Glasscock announced that MHS had the highest graduation rate of all the schools in the county.

An audience member asked about the hiring process. Glasscock said the state funds a certain number of teachers based on enrollment at each school. When a new teacher is needed, the district posts the job and collects resumes. Then, the school principal conducts interviews and makes a recommendation to the school board, which makes the final decision.

Chilton County Schools is working on AdvanceEd accreditation.

“Maplesville happens to be one of those schools that had already gone through the process … A lot of the teachers in the room (at the town hall meeting) made that possible,” Glasscock said.

Glasscock said the school will need to go through the process again as a part of the countywide accreditation.

“It is going to take us about two years to get through that process, and we are really going to lean on Maplesville, Mr. (Steven) Hunter (principal) and his staff to move that forward, ” Glasscock said.

Glasscock said Maplesville High School will see a lot of new faces this school year with a new assistant principal and several new teachers joining the team.

“It is literally going to be a rebuilding year,” Glasscock said.

Glasscock announced that both the district-level reading specialist and the department had for the division of teaching and learning were former Maplesville High School employees.