Despite loss of major revenue source,Greene County School System still maintaining balanced budget


School Board Chair Leo Branch presents board member Lester Brown with a plaque indicating that Brown had completed the Alabama Association of School Boards Academy’s requirements.
At the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, CFO Ms. Evelyn James told board members that the system now had a cash and cash equivalency of $2.9 million.
The revenue for the month of November was $1.16 million; expenditures equalled $1.225 million. However, she said, there was $400,000 in federal funding for October and November which would not be received until December, which would help balance revenue and expenses.
Board member Lester Brown asked, as he does at every meeting, if the board had received any funding from bingo at Greenetrack or from simulcasting. As usual, he was told no funding had come in from either source. He asked that the attorney contact them.
In action items, the board unanimously approved travel for the Greene County High School Girls Basketball team to Dekalb, Mississippi on December 28 and travel for the Greene County High School Boys Basketball Team to Kemper, Mississippi to participate in the Kemper County Tournament on December 29-30. They also approved payment of bills, claims and payroll and approved the financial statement submitted by CFO Evelyn James.
Following a lengthy executive session, the board approved the retirement of Mrs. Bobby Carpenter, secretary at the Greene County Board of Education, effective January 1, 2011.
They also approved the resignation of Mr. Cleveland Austin as health instructor at Greene County High School, effective November 30, 2010.
In her report. Superintendent Isaac Atkins explained to Board members that the State School Board had adopted a common core curricular in English and Math. They become the 42nd state in the U. S. to adopt these standards and the final state in the southern states to do so.
She also reported that the system had received an Arts in the Schools grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The funds will be used purchase art supplies for Eutaw Primary and Greene County High School and to take students to various arts-related events.
She also reported that all schools are required by the state to maintain at least one month’s operating funds. At present, the Greene County System is maintaining 4.6 months operating funds in the schools. “There are quite a few schools in the negative,” she said. “Greene County Schools are not in the negative.”
She also explained that the schools cannot use public funds for a number of things. Monies for activities that cannot use public funds can often be raised by PTAs and other school-related organizations. She ended her report by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
Board Chair Leo Branch announced that board member Lester Brown had completed all the courses of the Alabama Association of School Board’s Academy. He presented Brown with a plaque from the Academy for his achievements.
Board members presented Superintendent Atkins with a lovely poinsettia as a Christmas present.
The board recessed until January 6, 2011 at 4:30 p.m.

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Sarah Duncan and Lester Brown honored by National Voting Rights Museum and Institute


Pictured above are Ms. Sarah Duncan, Dr. Barnard Layfayette and Lester Brown being honored by the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute.

Two Greene County voting rights foot-soldiers, Sarah Duncan and Lester “Bop” Brown, were honored at the annual banquet of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma. Also honored at the same event was Dr. Bernard Lafayette of Atlanta, a civil rights movement veteran of SNCC and SCLC, who participated in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March.
Duncan and Brown received the “Living Legends Award” for their consistent and tireless work on voter registration, education, organization and participation since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Both have been involved in generating turnout in Greene County elections including encouraging those who are qualified to apply for and utilize the absentee ballot.
Sarah Duncan who has served as a deputy registrar and a Greene County Racing Commissioner said, “I had a vision that I could make a difference in my community and then I set about doing the work necessary to make it happen.”
Brown, who serves on the Greene County Board of Education, in accepting his award said, “It is a great honor but it also was a great and ongoing struggle. It was not easy to use our right to vote and we did not get here without great lawyers like J. L. Chestnut, Hank and Rose Sanders, John H. England and Michael Figures to defend us when we were attacked for voting too much.”
Brown said he was disturbed by the recent lenient plea deal in the case of Trooper Fowler who killed Jimmie Lee Jackson in Marion, Alabama in 1965. Brown said he accompanied Emma Jackson, Jackson’s sister, to the trial and was not satisfied with the six months plea deal. He said the plea deal was never discussed with Jackson’s family. “We would not be here tonight except for the sacrifices of Jimmie Lee Jackson and many others. We must honor their memory,” said Brown.
Mistress of Order for the Ceremony, Malika Sanders Fortier, commented, “Our living legend honorees are warriors on the battlefield, even when they are getting an award.”
Dr. Bernard Lafayette, who is currently teaching civil rights history and nonviolence training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia also received a major award at the banquet. Lafayette came to Selma with SNCC and SCLC in 1965 and helped with voter registration campaigns and logistics for the march.
Lafayette said, “We turned the Edmund Pettus Bridge into an international monument to democracy and voting rights. We made it a bridge to span the centuries. We made it and the National Voting Rights Museum a lesson and model for young people. We have institutionalized a place to learn how to serve others. I salute the National Voting Rights Museum for all it has done to further our movement.”
Persons interested in more information about the museum and how to support it may go to: http://www.nvrmi.org or visit at 6 U. S. Highway East, Selma, Alabama 36701; phone: 334/418-0800

Leo Branch is new chair of Board of Education



Pictured L-R are Board members Lester Brown and Morris Hardy being sworn in by District Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne.

At their regular meeting on November 15, the Greene County Board of Education unanimously elected Board Member Leo Branch as their chairman. Board Member Bobbie Morgan was elected Vice Chair.
Before the beginning of the meeting, District Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne swore in Lester Brown and Morris Hardy, the two members who were re-elected in November.
Coach Bruce Jackson presented the senior members of the Greene County High School football team and told board members how well the team had performed during the last season and how much he expected of the team in the 2011 season.
In her financial statement, CFO Evelyn James told the board that for the month of September the board had cash and cash equivalency of $3.1 million. This includes money for capital improvements. They had revenue of $1.6 million and expenses of $1.4 million. The last income from bingo at Greenetrack was in July for the month of June. Lester Brown told the board that already the school system had not received at least $225,000 from bingo. This was an estimate of what they would have received had Governor Bob Riley left the bingo machines in place and operating.
James said the revenue for October was $1.2 million and the expenses were $1.5 million.
In action items, the Board approved:
*At Risk Funds for Greene County Children’s Policy Council, New Generation After-School Tutorial  Program, SCORE, and the Center for Rural Development;
*An Anti-Harassment Policy;
*Payment of all bills and claims;
*The financial statement submitted by Evelyn James;
*Resolution authorizing the issuing of the Capital Outlay Pool Warrant.
Following an executive session, the Board approved catastrophic sick leave for Ms. Sandra Harris, Transportation/CNP Secretary for the system.During her report, Superintendent Isaac Atkins said that the students at Eutaw Primary all had computers now and by going on Skype were able to visit one of their teachers online who was serving in Iraq. She said that soon they would be able to communicate with other students in other schools.
She announced that November 14-20 was American Education Week. This year’s theme is Great Public Schools – A Basic Right and Our Responsibility. Each school is having programs each day during this week.
During public comments two people from District 3 said they were interested in filling the vacancy left by Elzora Fluker. They were told by Attorney Sanders that the qualifications were to be a registered voter, live in the district and be an adult.
The board recessed the current meeting and announced the meeting would continue on November 29.Attorney Senator Hank Sanders advised the board that he had done some research on how to legally fill the vacancy created when Board Member Elzora Fluker was sworn in as a Greene County Commissioner.
According to Sanders, the position must be filled within 30 days following Fluker being sworn in as a commissioner. This leaves them 23 days from the date of the November 15 meeting to fill the vacancy. If they do not, the State Superintendent gets to fill the vacancy.
It was decided that, to make things fair, the board would accept applications from each person who wants the position. They will accept applications until November 23 and then make a decision.
Branch said that all applicants are to address their resumes to the Greene County Board of Education, c/o President Leo Branch.