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Changes coming for third and sixth grades in Clanton

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Board of Education, at the recommendation of the superintendent, has approved moving classrooms for third and sixth grades in Clanton to different schools for next year.

Third grade classrooms will move to Clanton Elementary in the 2020-2021 school year. Sixth grade classrooms will move to Clanton Intermediate 2020-2021 school year. (The changes will have the Clanton schools following the same grade break down as Jemison has.)

The changes come as Superintendent Jason Griffin and the Board of Education look toward implementing the requirements of the newly passed Alabama Literacy Act. One of the main components of the law is making sure third grade students can read at a proficient level.

The vote during the Jan. 21 board meeting was unanimous. Board member Lori Patterson was absent.

“With the initiative coming down from the state on the reading program, we are having to start this K through third grade this year,” board member Pam Price said. “Fourth through sixth grade next year, so if Mr. Griffin had not agreed to move these grades to the new schools, we would be paying more as a board to implement this program in more schools.”

Griffin said the changes were possible because of surplus classrooms.

The changes are estimated to bring enrollment at CES to 1,000 and CIS to 675. Enrollment at Clanton Middle School is expected to go down to 450.

“The move of sixth grade will allow more instructional time than what is currently being received,” Griffin said.

During a work session prior to the voting meeting, Board President Angie Sanderson asked questions related to how this change would impact funding for assistant principals. This school year, funding from the state only covers half of the assistant principal’s salary at CES, the rest is covered by local funding, according to CES Principal Rebecca Threlkeld. Having third grade added to the school would give the school enough students to have an assistant principal fully funded through revenue from the state. However, Griffin said local funding would now be needed to fund a portion of the salary for the assistant principal for Clanton Middle. CMS will be seventh and eighth grades only.

Child Nutrition Director Tasha Hayes said she had talked with the cafeteria staff at Clanton Elementary, and they do have a time slot available for the incoming grade.

She also assured the board that it would not be at 9 a.m.

None of these changes will impact Chilton County High School.