Throughout the last few years, the Scottsboro City Schools has overseen a transformation as the City Board of Education (BOE) moved to consolidate the system from six schools to five schools in 2017. Now the BOE is looking to what the future of the school district may look like.
Superintendent Dr. Jay Reyes presented the board with information on the school system’s financial state during the board’s meeting Thursday afternoon. His outlook was generally positive but said that he felt the board needed to continue to prepare for the future.
During a presentation to the Board, Reyes, who oversaw the last consolidation plan that saw the closing of Brownwood Elementary School, discussed the system’s financial position and a continued decline in students.
According to Reyes, the school system has been losing roughly 50 students per year. This is likely due to lower birth rates and population in Jackson County over the past few decades.
Reyes says that the financial future of the school system is potentially on the line when Scottsboro citizens go to the polls in just a couple of years to renew the millage tax — a property-based tax utilized to fund school systems in the U.S.
During his presentation to the board, Reyes highlighted that the system’s financial state has improved over the last few years. As operating costs have risen in some areas the school’s financial reserves have also increased.
Where in 2017, when Reyes first took over as superintendent, the city school system had roughly one month in reserve, they now maintain almost two months of cash in reserve to support the school system.
This has come amid large spending pushes by the board to support students in the transition to e-learning including the purchasing of chrome books earlier in the year.
Part of the cost saving measures the Board considered during their meeting was a contract with the Alabama Supercomputer Authority to provide the school system with their internet.
The plan represents a roughly $12,000 savings annually, taking the cost of the school’s broadband services from $20,000 a year to $8,779.
During a work session that followed Thursday’s board meeting Ken Holder presented potential plans for a $3.2 million grant that the city is required to spend prior to 2022.
The plans included a major update to the roof of Scottsboro Junior High School that would cost between $1.2 – 1.5 million. Holder added that the work could be completed entirely during the summer and provide no interference with student’s education.
Holder added that when he saw the roof that he was “surprised that they’re not pouring water.”
The new roof would come with a 20-year manufacture warranty.
He then presented a plan to spend the remaining approximately $2 million on two auxiliary gyms that would add capacity for Physical Education to the Junior High School and Caldwell. These projects would allow the schools to add more students as well as accommodate additional practice times for athletics.
Neither building is planned to be an attached structure due to fire regulations in the state.
During the meeting Reyes emphasized that there are no current plans to consolidate from five schools to four, but that it is something the school board needed to be looking towards as they approve spending.