With the help of higher-than-expected state funding and nine retirements, the Cullman County Board of Education will now have to fire only seven support employees. Previous estimates had called for the termination of as many as 25 support positions, which includes cafeteria workers and school bus drivers.

Many jobs were saved by the recently passed $6.2 billion state education budget, which was a large increase from the approximately $5.7 billion budget state officials had originally considered.

The retirement of nine existing board of education employees “definitely helped” with the decreased losses, Cullman County Board of Education Superintendent Hank Allen said.

The names of the seven employees being cut have not been publicly released, due to the fact many have not yet been notified.

Allen said the school board has been working “non-stop” to make the final decisions.

“Some of them were made as late as this afternoon,” Allen said at the Tuesday night school board meeting.

Though Tuesday’s announcement was less severe than expected, Allen said as many as 30 teachers could be terminated at the upcoming May 19 board meeting.

“We’re still looking to lose around 30,” he said. “If it’s less than that, we’ll be very pleased.”

Specific decisions regarding teachers cuts have yet to be made, and the school board spent more than an hour in executive session Tuesday night discussing the topic.

“We’re doing everything we can to whittle those numbers down as much as possible,” Allen said.

Employees approved for retirement include Harmony School CNP Manager Evelon Hopper, Hanceville School CNP worker Betty Day, West Point School bus driver Mary Frances Lake, West Point bus driver Jerry Lake, Fairview Elementary School fourth grade teacher Susan Waugh, Good Hope Elementary School teacher Patti Bostick, Child Development Center teacher Betty Howse, career center senior high science teacher Janet Phillips and Good Hope Middle School seventh grade teacher and golf coach Danny Welborn.

The board also:

‰ Approved the resignations of Fairview High School varsity girls basketball coach Rick McDonald, Vinemont High School volleyball coach Tammy Whittle, West Point High School assistant varsity football coach Randy D. Jones, Cold Springs High School junior varsity basketball coach Bruce Parker, Cold Springs High School varsity football cheerleading coach Cantrice Voce and Cold Springs Middle and High School cheerleading coach Lisa Campbell were also approved.

‰ Recognized Hanceville High School math team, division III math team state champions: Sponsor Dana Lisle, Ben Burkart, Dominique Carraway, Salli Hamm, D.J. Leslie, Zach Natt, Audrey Quick, Seth Starnes, Cassie Tankersley and Emilee Thomas.

‰ Recognized Will Busby, Cold Springs High School student, who will represent the State of Alabama at the National FCCLA meeting in Nashville, Tenn. in July; the National FCCLA Cluster meeting in Kentucky; and the FCCLA State meeting in Bessemer, Ala.; plus many other activities during his term of office.

‰ Recognized Nick Feldner, Jacksonville State Teacher Hall of Fame Middle School Representative from Fairview Middle School.

‰ Recognized Rachel Harbison, Jacksonville State Teacher Hall of Fame Elementary Representative from Garden City School.

‰ Recognized Carrie Morrow, Alabama Teacher of the Year Elementary Representative from Hanceville Middle School.

‰ Recognized Victoria Skelley, Jacksonville State Teacher Hall of Fame Secondary Representative and Alabama Teacher of the Year Secondary Representative from Fairview High School.

‰ Recognized 2009 valedictorians and salutatorians:

— Cold Springs High School valedictorian Alana Bookout and salutatorian Paige Parker.

— Fairview High School valedictorian Camellia Bryant and salutatorian Gabriel Martin.

— Good Hope High School valedictorian Kelsey McCluskey and salutatorian Anna Blakely.

— Hanceville High School valedictorian Audrey Quick and salutatorian Ben Burkart.

— Holly Pond High School valedictorian Naomi Capps and salutatorian Heath Hyde.

— Vinemont High School valedictorian Will Hasenbein and salutatorian Ashley Robertson.

— West Point High School valedictorian Jared Oldacre and salutatorian Michael Tolbert.

‰ Approved the minutes from the April 21 board meeting.

‰ Approved the appointments of substitutes Savanna Leeth as a teacher and Gynett Bueche as an office worker.

‰ Approved contract changes for John Brodeur, to add an assistant baseball coaching supplement at Vinemont High School.

‰ Approved a $47,341 change order #2 for Harmony School phase II addition. The order will furnish the necessary labor, materials, and equipment to install sleepers at the roof, remove wood flooring system and install a topping slab at the gym’s exterior doors, and to relocate doors to the exterior wall and add one pair of doors, exterior canopies, additional sidewalk, light fixtures and auxiliary systems.

‰ Approved a request from Good Hope High School and Holly Pond High School to offer a review and remediation summer program for the graduation exam through High Hope Tutors.

‰ Approved a request from West Point High School for Shanda Moon to receive $912 from the West Point Tennis Booster Club for the 2008-2009 school year.

‰ Approved a request for bus driver Okley Shelton to work past the age of 70.

‰ Approved contract meals provided to CAPNA, Inc. (Head Start Program) for Cold Springs, the Child Development Center, Hanceville, Harmony, Parkside and Welti.

‰ Approved a request from Welti School for Brian O’Rear to work as needed between the dates of June 2 - July 31, 2009. Pay will be based on the summer maintenance salary schedule. The work will aid in the summer maintenance and preparation for the 2009-2010 school year.

‰ Approved a request from Welti School for Becki Glass to work as needed between the dates of June 2 - July 31, 2009.

‰ Approved a request from Welti School for Cristi Easterwood to work as needed between the dates of June 2 - July 31, 2009. This work will aid in student enrollment, bookkeeping and material preparation for the 2009 - 2010 school year.

‰ Approved a request from Welti School to properly dispose of all obsolete or non-repairable technology.

‰ Approved the 21st Century Summer Enrichment Program, which is federally funded.

‰ Approved a request from the transportation director to transport students for the 21st Century Summer Enrichment Program.

‰ Approved a request from the transportation director to transport Cullman county students from local school sites to Wallace State in Hanceville for the “Upward Bound” program this summer.

‰ Approved a request from West Point Middle School to accept the low bid from AGF, Inc. for $8,995 to refinish the gym floor this summer. The work will be paid from local school funds.

‰ Approved a request from West Point Middle School to pay Nancy Steele, custodian, $1,200 from local school funds to refinish all classrooms and hallway floors this summer.

‰ Re-appointed board members to committees for 2009-2010.

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 225.

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