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School board to address unsafe bleachers

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Chilton County Board of Education approved moving forward with replacing stadium seating that has been deemed a safety hazard during a special called meeting on June 29.

Isabella and Verbena high schools visitors’ side were mentioned as needing to be replaced the most.

Maintenance Supervisor Freddy Smith said the visitors’ bleachers were going to have to be removed at VHS anyway because of a parking lot project.

The bleachers would be replaced with aluminum ones.

Bleachers at Jemison High and overlays at Chilton County High School and Maplesville High were also on the list. The cost for all of these would be $1.7 million.

Board Vice President Jaqueline Sullivan and members Chris Smith, Brad Carter, Diane Calloway, Keith Moore and Lori Patterson voted in favor.

Board President Pam Price voted against.

Price expressed concerns that the board was spending money on “extracurricular activities that does not even benefit our students” and might not have enough money to do some of the projects that had been top priorities because the cost of supplies was going up.

“It benefits spectators, and I go to plenty of stadiums where you have to take your own seating,” Price said.

“What I said was we would do structural issues first,” Griffin said. “… This is a major liability that needs to be addressed because of structural issues.”

Smith said the liability issue if left unchecked could result in a lawsuit in the future.

Increased costs were also mentioned during financial report. Chief School Financial Officer Alisa Benson said that the school system had spent more than the revenue it received so far in the fiscal year. She mainly attributed this to increased cost for supplies for the maintenance department.

“I am just thinking that when the budget was put together, things were not as expensive as they are right now,” Benson said. “So, budgeted dollars might not be going as far.”

The school system has received about 69% of its revenue for the year but spent around 72% of its budget for the year.

Usually, these percentages would be about the same, or the revenue percentage would be more than expenses at this point in the fiscal year.

Also during the meeting, the board approved:

  • Paying a substitute nurse for a day of training that she had attended prior to her start date.
  • Volunteers for Clanton Middle School.
  • Special Education contracts.
  • Supplies for school nurses.