Madison County school leaders would like to implement a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program as an elective at Madison County High School, and the county school board heard Tuesday from Lt. Col. David McMickle, Clarke County JROTC director, about the program.
McMickle told board members that the Army program is not a recruitment tool, but a program aimed at helping students develop the disciplines needed to be healthy, contributing citizens in society with an eye toward community service, not self service. He said about 20 percent of JROTC participants end up pursuing a career in the Army. He said JROTC includes a wide range of opportunities for youth, including knowledge in robotics and cyber issues, as well as physical fitness, drill team, air rifle and more.
He said a JROTC program must include two instructors. At issue for Madison County in implementing a JROTC program is paying for those instructors. Typically, a school system pays the salaries of instructors, then the Army reimburses the system for that cost. Madison County is not currently on the Army’s list for such reimbursements, so county school board members must consider whether they want to fund those positions with the hope, but not the guarantee, that the Army will designate Madison County as a system for such funding.
McMickle said other branches of the armed forces also offer similar programs, though the JROTC through the Army is the biggest program.
County school board chairman Robert Hooper spoke in support of the program.
“I hope we can move forward with this in the near future,” he said.
Also Tuesday, the board heard from superintendent Michael Williams, who noted that Laura Minish, a teacher at Comer Elementary School, and Gena Parham, a secretary at Hull-Sanford Elementary School, are the systemwide “teacher of the year” and “support staff person of the year.”
Williams said he and other administrators are closely watching state legislators’ actions on education this session. He spoke of a senate bill that would reduce funding for charter schools, a “Tim Tebow” bill that would allow homeschooled children to participate in school sports and a “voucher bill” that would allow parents to transfer funding for their children from public to private schools. He said the county health department asked the system to conduct a survey of school staff regarding who would like to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available. He said 457 staff members responded, with 60 percent saying they would like to get the shots.
Assistant superintendent Mandy Wommack reported that sales tax collections were at an all-time high last month at $252,885. She noted that the system will see an increase in its fiscal year 2022 budget for teacher retirement expenses. She said the schools are waiting on word from the state on whether staff will get a $1,000 supplement from the state. Wommack praised the school system’s transportation and nutrition departments, saying that they have been strong all year, including when many are having to pick up responsibilities for those who are out of work.
Assistant superintendent Dr. Jody Goodroe reported that the schools are watching closely to see how covid is affecting learning. He said those who have to quarantine in grades three through 12 seem to generally bounce back from the loss of in-person time. But he said students in kindergarten through second grade are really showing struggles after such absences. He said the schools are focused on what they can do to help with that problem.
Long-time Danielsville Elementary School principal Angie Waggoner is retiring. That news was included in the personnel reports from Tuesday night’s school board meeting. The board held a closed session then approved the following administrative positions for 2021-22 Tuesday: Amanda Wommack, assistant superintendent; Angela McCarty, principal, Colbert; Amanda Sailors, principal, Comer; Michele Barrett, director of the Early Learning Center; Theresa Bettis, principal, Hull-Sanford; Missy Andrews, principal, Ila; Georgie Bullock, principal, Madison County Middle School; George Bullock, principal, Madison County High School.
The board also approved these personnel actions:
•Colbert: Sherri Hix as a long-term paraprofessional sub for P. Tiller
•Comer: Cody Dyer as a long=term sub for C. Knight, additional duties for Elizabeth Fields and Sheree Scoggins with BEYOND
•Danielsville: Linda Allen hired as a teacher/interventionist, Susan Daniels as a long-term sub for C. Clements, additional duties for the following with CAMP Learn-A-Lot: Linda Allen, Susan Daniels, Kim Bartlett, Janna Bates, Susan Beach, Selina Gilbert, Linda Herring, Kelly Lasseter, Gail Sellers and Kim Tucker
•Hull-Sanford: Patricia Akins and Rachel Pittman hired as a Camp Raiders assistants; Kendra Coward, hired as a paraprofessional
•Ila: Tonya Hill, counselor, leave without pay
•MCHS: Matthew Brantley and Michele May, hired as paraprofessionals
•MCMS: Carey Metts, teacher, leave without pay
•Transportation: Brenda Duncan, leave without pay; Allison Evans, hired as a full-time bus driver; Thomas West, leave without pay
•Information: Lisa Beasley, resignation, Hull; Donna Compton, retirement, paraprofessional, Colbert; Frances Evans, retirement, paraprofessional, Colbert; Jordyn Hamby, resignation, teacher, Ila; Jeannie Huff, retirement, FTE secretary, Danielsville; Teddi Shriner, resignation, counselor, middle school; Chelsea Sikes, resignation, special ed teacher, Colbert; Michelle Sparks, resignation, paraprofessional, Comer; Cathy Westmoreland, paraprofessional, Colbert.