CCS sets fee for after-school care

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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UPDATE: On Aug. 2, the Board of Education overturned this decision keeping the program free for another year using ESSER federal funding by reducing the amount paid to staff working the program.

By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The Chilton County Schools after-school program will have a weekly cost this year following a vote by the Board of Education on July 19.

The board had requested a plan to make the program pay for itself in order to be self-sustaining when the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding is unavailable next year. Federal ESSER funds had funded the program previously making it free last year.

Board President Pam Price, Vice President Chris Smith and board members Brad Carter, Diane Calloway and Jacqueline Sullivan voted in favor. Board member Keith Moore voted against, and board member Lori Patterson recused herself.

The program is available for students in kindergarten to sixth grade.

Cost will be $65 per week for the program for the 2022-2023 school year with a $50 registration fee.

However, Department of Teaching and Learning Executive Director Ashlie Harrison said any student in kindergarten to third grade with a reading improvement plan would attend for free in compliance with Alabama Literacy Act requirements.

A recommendation that would have kept the program free for this year failed with Moore being the only board member to vote in favor. Patterson recused herself from the vote.

Harrison worked with Chief School Financial Officer Alisa Benson to determine costs for the program in developing the plan for making it self-sustaining.

Registration information for the program will be available at student orientation.

During the finance report, Benson said the school system should be receiving $2 million in ESSER funds soon to reimburse for funds already spent. Ad valorem tax revenue to the school system has increased by about $190,000 compared to last year at this time, while sales tax revenue has increased by about $197,000.

Also, during the meeting, Price expressed concerns that several of the buildings were over budget on electric costs. Superintendent Jason Griffin said now might be a good time to reinstate the energy coordinator that had kept up with ensuring energy efficiency guidelines were followed.

Price said this is a part of the principal and the superintendent responsibilities.

Bids that had been received for installing air conditioners in school gyms were rejected, at Griffin’s recommendation, because all of them were over $4 million. Only $3.7 million was available for the project, he said.

A vote for electronic signs at the schools was approved. Patterson, Carter, Smith, Calloway and Moore voted in favor. Price and Sullivan voted against.