Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Education Committee Gets School Study Proposals

Fairhope, Alabama

Ames, left
Purchasing manger Dan Ames distributed the two proposals received for a potential study of the city's three options for city-area schools: continue the status-quo; form a special tax district still within the county system; or an entirely independent school system.

Committee Chairman Kerry Flowers summarized the "essential question" that needed to be answered: "Can Fairhope feeder pattern schools achieve state top-ten status by any of the options; if so what is the road map for getting there and how much will it cost?"


Ames advised he had checked references and both companies, Florida-based Evergreen Solutions and Akribos Consulting of Spanish Fort, met all bid requirements and appeared well qualified to do the work.

Ames: "Both have done similar work before ... to what we are asking for ...  easily within their capabilities ... really sharp people."


Flowers, second from right
The next step will be presentations by each company in the Giddens meeting room at the library: the first by Akribos on Wednesday, December 9th at 4:30 PM and the second by Evergreen on the 16th.

Presentations will be about 20 minutes long with a question-and-answer session with EAC members following for about ten minutes.

The meeting is open to the public.


Then, the EAC will meet again (date undetermined) in a special meeting to pick one as its recommendation to the city council; possibly to be presented as early as the December 28th council work session.

The mayor will then negotiate a "fee schedule" with the selected company and the final contract could be awarded by the council at its regular meeting on January 11th, by majority vote.


Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler sat in on the meeting for the second month in a row.

Tyler, right
Tyler: "I came to be part of the process ...  to listen and answer questions."

He again asked for "the chance to give you what you are looking for" within the county system; and emphasized a need for "stability" and for voters to "make us whole again" by passing renewals for the expiring 4 mils of property taxes next March.

The state legislature (or county commission) must renew the 'penny sales tax' before it expires in 2017 as well.

Tyler said neither he or the School Board intends to advocate for any new taxes, i.e. the 1/2 cent for new school construction being recommended by the Baldwin School Task Force: the Public will have to make up its own mind about that. (He expects the BTF itself to advocate for it when the time comes.)


Tyler went on to acknowledge problems exist like over-spending  in recent years on technology (Digital Renaissance) and some test scores are "not very good."

Technology is still important and "here to stay" but less expensive ways are available for implementation.

Tyler: "We haven't been spending wisely ... not cost-effective."

He also conceded  the curriculum is "3 - 4 years behind where it should be" and planned to appoint a capable assistant superintendent to catch that up. hopefully within two years (A Task Force recommendation as well).

Getting the right management people in place and holding them accountable is a high priority right now, he added.


Since studies show that early learning is a key to success later, Tyler mentioned he would like to see the old K-1 site on Church St. used for  a pre-K, K someday, if funding becomes available.

He hoped that cities like Fairhope and Gulf Shores would consider contributing to the construction costs of such new facilities in their districts.


Anonymous said...

We need to put God back in to the schools. Pray for our leaders to start doing what is right.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that God had left the building. "Bidden or not bidden, God is present."

Anonymous said...

The old K1 building will cost a fortune to renovate to make it suitable for pre-K students and energy efficient.

Anonymous said...

Lead, and asbestos free. Real dangerous for staff and children. People have been pushing to use these buildings since it closed up. Has anyone thought of this?