Tallapoosa County Board of Education

Building students today for a better future tomorrow.

District Announcements

  • Out-of-district residents can now pay a fee to attend Tallapoosa County Schools, an attempt to boost enrollment in what school board vice president Michael Carter described as "a recruiting game."

    The Tallapoosa County Board of Education voted to approve the new out-of-district policy recommended by Superintendent Ray Porter Monday, which sets a $500 per semester tuition fee, or $750 per semester for families enrolling more than one child.

    Up until now, Tallapoosa County Schools did not allow non-resident students, with exceptions considered on a case-by-case basis. However, Porter said he wanted to extend that opportunity to any student within commuting distance.https://www.alexcityoutlook.com/news/i-think-tallapoosa-county-has-a-superior-product-boe-hopes-to-recruit-non-resident-students/article_cd30c730-fa31-11eb-840a-73802999926e.html#tncms-source=login

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  • Horseshoe Bend School's long-awaited renovation project is a go as the Tallapoosa County Board of Education accepted a $1,496,000 contract bid Monday, about $250,0000 higher than what they originally budgeted.

    The contract includes a new roof, exterior renovations, and new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, including overhead units in the elementary and high school gyms.

    Upon receiving bids for the project last week, Superintendent Ray Porter warned school board members even the lowest quoted price — the one they ended up approving Monday — came out higher than planned.

    "If we want to go ahead and do that project, then we may need to put more money into it than we had anticipated," Porter said at a work session Tuesday. "Now, that's several months old when we budgeted that money, and the construction market has completely changed in those months."

    According to Porter, the market timing is especially bad for HVAC, which came out nearly double in price and with a 16-24-week lead time on getting it installed.

     "We are not going to get that building built any time in the foreseeable future for what we would've gotten it built for 18 months ago," he said.

    Ultimately, the board decided against waiting out the market Monday with little discussion.

    "Motion carries, and happy to get that done," board president Carla Talton said.

    Horseshoe Bend's $1.5 million renovation will come out of Tallapoosa County Schools' capital project funding.

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  • A nationwide price surge in building materials has left new construction projects on the table, but in the meantime, the Tallapoosa County Board of Education is working to finish up ongoing projects.

    Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Ray Porter gave an update on activity taking place in Dadeville, New Site, Reeltown, and Camp Hill during a school board work session Tuesday.

    "It sounds like folks have been busy," board member Michael Carter said.

    Here's the latest:  

    Dadeville

    The foundation has been laid — literally — for Dadeville High School's field house after several weeks of moving around dirt to keep the building from turning into a swamp (the old field house suffered drainage issues).

    Horseshoe Bend

    Horseshoe Bend School's long-awaited auditorium is scheduled for completion one year after breaking ground on the $3.3 million project last summer.

    "The Horseshoe Bend auditorium is on schedule now and scheduled to be completed in August," Porter said.

    Earlier this year the Tallapoosa County Board of Education also started soliciting bids for exterior renovations and a new HVAC system; the latter will be covered using federal COVID-19 relief funds to improve air circulation.

    This month, Porter will also recommend the school board start seeking contracts for a new gym floor for Horseshoe Bend's elementary-aged students. Dadeville and Reeltown elementary schools will also be upgrading their gym floors.

    "If Reeltown's going to have a new floor and (Dadeville) is going to have a new floor, the Horseshoe Bend floor is still just a concrete floor," Porter said. "So we're going to bid this and I'll bring up the recommendation to the board."

    Reeltown

    As Tallapoosa County Schools finishes up construction of Reeltown Elementary School, the school system is in talks with the Alabama Department of Transportation (DOT) over who has to pay for improvements to the intersection of state highways 49 and 120. Porter said he'd sit with the DOT Friday.

     

    As for the building itself, "Reeltown Elementary has begun to put the brick facade on the kitchen area of the new school and hang roofing material over the new kitchen area," Porter said. "And the latter part of the building, I think it's section B, is receiving its trusses now. That should finish up within the next ten days and then the building will be in the dry."

    Last year the board approved a $12.5 million bid for the new school, to be built behind Reeltown High School, as a much-needed upgrade from the current Reeltown Elementary built-in 1929. Tallapoosa County Schools broke ground on the project last June.

    Porter and board member Martin Johnson, who represents Reeltown, also thanked Tallapoosa County commissioner George Carleton Jr. for getting rid of the trailer blighting the entrance to Reeltown High School.  

    Reeltown Elementary School

    Submitted / The Outlook

    An aerial shot shows progress on the construction of the new Reeltown Elementary School building, as of April 6.

    Edward Bell

    Workers began on the replacement of the Edward Bell Career Technical Center roof in April and are due to finish up on the new skin roof soon, Porter said.

    "The skin is attached," he told board members. "Now they'll complete the trim work around the roof area and that should be completed this week."

    As of last week, Tallapoosa County Schools is out for summer. The board of education is holding its next regular meeting Monday, June 14 at 5 p.m.

     
     
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  • If Tallapoosa County wasn't already indebted to its school nurses, it was this school year to the women who checked temperatures, disinfected classrooms, and kept tabs on COVID-19 cases and quarantines.  

    On Monday, the Tallapoosa County Board of Education formally honored its school nurses with a resolution and round of applause.

    "I'd like to say something not just as a superintendent but as a grandparent and as someone who cares about all the children in our county," Tallapoosa County Schools superintendent Ray Porter said at Monday's board meeting. "A lot of times, the nursing profession, we call them unsung heroes. This year, they were not unsung. This year we recognize their value and appreciate their value more this year than we ever have in the past."

    The show of appreciation came just in time for International Nurses Day on May 12.

    District lead nurse Tammy Templeton also took the opportunity to thank her fellow nurses, sharing a conversation she once had with the late Tallapoosa County commissioner Bill Thweatt.

     

    "He said 'Tammy, this school nursing thing, it's just boo-boos and Band-Aids and broken bones, right?' And I said 'No sir, it's way more than that.' So I started telling him all of the things that school nurses do — oxygen care, diabetic care, seizure management."

    This year, Templeton could have added the COVID-19 pandemic to the list. She said she frequently thinks back on that conversation.  

    "It sticks in my mind because a lot of people didn't realize what school nursing was all about until this year," she said. "(The nurses) stepped forward and they really showed what they could do. And from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate you girls, I really do."

    Tallapoosa County Schools has seven school nurses, including Templeton, Tanya Branch, Jennifer Tharpe, Jean McCreight, Regina Newman, Attie Hayes, and Traci Kizziah.

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  • A Lake Martin couple is piloting an unusual high school scholarship program this year, not for college-bound seniors, but incoming 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders.

    Dadeville High School students who maintain a certain GPA, do something for the community over the summer and write an essay about it are eligible to apply for one of three $1,000 scholarships. One recipient per grade level will be selected to spend it however they please.

     

    "It's an experiment," said Aleem Gillani, retired SunTrust Banks CFO, who moved to the Dadeville area from Atlanta a couple of years ago with his wife Cindy.

     

    Pretty soon upon arrival, the pair sought ways to help their new home county, with a particular focus on education and literacy.

    Rather than handing out blank checks, however, Gillani is taking a more targeted approach.

    "My original plan was to do a financial literacy course," he said. "Kids graduate high school, they go to college and they never figure out how to handle money. There's no course for that."

     

    Failing to get any interest, however, Gillani sat down with the Tallapoosa County Schools administration to see what other problems needed addressing. 

    A big one was the graduation rate. Of the 195 students across Tallapoosa County Schools who entered ninth grade in 2016, 20 students — just over 10% — did not graduate last year. Dadeville High School, which has the lowest graduation rate in the county, saw 16% of that cohort not get their diplomas last year (albeit a few percentage points higher than 2019, before the pandemic).

    "The problem that Dadeville High School has is they have kids who go and work in the summer and then they don't come back in the fall," Gillani said. "We wanted to encourage kids to stay in school through the entire time. And the problem is if they're making money, they don't come back to school."

    Despite the $173-per-week premium earned by high school grads without college, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some students figure they could make more in the short term by dropping out. Gillani's proposed solution is a scholarship not for tuition aid (seeing as, at a public high school, there is none) but as something to make finishing high school financially worth their while. As far as he knows, it's the only scholarship of its kind, hence the experiment. 

    "Will it work?" Gillani said. "Will it change the graduation rate; will it have some kind of effect? Are we focusing on the right things when we focus on GPA and community service?"

    To answer those questions, the Gillani Family Foundation scholarship is endowed for three years, at which point they'll assess its progress. Despite setting up the fund last year, this school year will be the first year it's disbursed with the chaos of returning to class last fall. Dadeville High School principal Chris Hand said students have until September to apply.

    "Actually we just had one turned in today that I gave to our new counselor," he said Thursday.

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