Shane Barnette

Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette is seen during the July 16 board meeting.

The Cullman County School Board approved more than $8 million in improvement projects for schools around the county after receiving a state bond through the Public School and College Authority.

The PSCA bonds include an estimated $4.8 million classroom and lunchroom addition for Hanceville Elementary School, $2.8 million for a gymnasium for Good Hope Middle School, $300,000 for a lunchroom expansion for Cold Springs High School and Elementary School and $550,000 for West Point High School and Elementary School lunchroom expansion and new roof. 

The state announced in November that it would be releasing more than $1 billion in bonds through the Public School and College Authority to be allocated to schools around the state. 

The Cullman County School System received a total of $11.5 million from the bond issue, and will not have to pay any of the money back, said Cullman County Schools Superintendent Shane Barnette. 

With around $8.45 million planned for the improvement projects, the rest of the $11.5 million will go towards energy saving measures at campuses around the county, he said. 

Barnette said the school board has been trying to build a gym for Good Hope Middle School ever since the school was constructed, and with the PSCA funding, the system can build a competition gym that will have room for an audience to attend any events there. 

"Originally, we were going to have to build a PE gym which had no seating capacity or anything like that," he said. "We're going to build a much better one."

Hanceville Elementary School has been in crucial need of replacing an old building, so the project there will include new classrooms as well as a cafeteria just for the elementary students instead of them sharing with the middle and high schools, Barnette said. 

He said the board also approved the Cold Springs lunchroom expansion if it is needed, but it is still in the very early planning stages and the system will be looking to see if the expansion is necessary. 

On West Point's campus, the high school and elementary schools also share their cafeteria, which means lunch has to begin at around 9:50 a.m. and doesn't end until after 1 p.m., so expanding that lunchroom will allow for more students to be seated at a time, Barnette said. 

"We're excited about that possibility as well," he said. 

Barnette said the system will soon get to work with architects to plan the new buildings and additions, and renderings of the projects and estimated times for construction will be released as they become available.

In other business, the board:

Approved to pay the following for up to five unused Annual Leave days, as per board policy: Joey Wilks.

Approved request from Cold Springs High Schools to pay Taylor Hale $900 for assisting with the JV Volleyball and Varsity Volleyball teams, paid by Cold Springs Volleyball Program.

Approved request from Fairview Middle School to pay Kenny Griffin and Linda Chapman $600 each for Athletic Director duties for the 2020-2021 school year, paid by local school funds.

Approved request from Fairview High School to pay Brian Simmons $1,500 for Athletic Director duties for the 2020-2021 school year, paid by local school athletic funds.

Approved request from Vinemont High School to pay Todd Johnson $1,500 for Athletic Director duties from the 2020-2021 school year, paid by local school funds.

Approved request from West Point Middle School to pay $500 each to Steven Harbison for coaching 7th grade boys’ basketball and Hayden Voce for coaching 7th grade girls’ basketball, paid by local school funds.

Approved request to pay Kathy Day $15 per game as the official bookkeeper at the Varsity Basketball County Tournament, paid by the Cullman County Basketball Association (22 games at $15 per game=total $330).

Approved request from the Cullman County Middle School Basketball Association to pay Scotty Cofer a $700 supplement as the 2020-2021 association president, paid by the Cullman County Middle School Basketball Association.

Approved November 2020 Financial Statements.

Approved November 2020 Bills and Salaries in the amount of $8,762,799.61.

Approved request from the CNP Director for the extension of the (PACA) Purchasing Contract renewal through June 30, 2023.

Approved the extension of the COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) until March 31.

Approved the following revised Board Policy-7.3 Academic Standards- Revised Policy for students entering ninth grade 2021/22 and thereafter.

The Cullman County School Board will next meet on Feb. 11 in the Central Office Board Room, with a work session beginning at 3:30 p.m. and the meeting immediately following. 

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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