Commission distributes nearly $8 million to JefCoEd
By Gary Lloyd
JEFFERSON COUNTY — The Jefferson County Commission last week presented new Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey a check for $7,887,280.70.
The funds were left over from the bonds that were used to finance the rebuilding of county schools, said Commissioner Joe Knight.
“We tried to get these funds refunded to the schools when we first came into office, however, the trustee would not release them,” Knight said. “After exiting bankruptcy, we were able to distribute these funds.”
Knight said each of the county school districts received an amount that was proportional to the amount they initially received.
“We have ensured there are no arbitrage issues and the funds can only be expended for capital purposes,” Knight said.
Part of the money going to Jefferson County Schools will go toward building a new cafeteria at Kermit Johnson Elementary School in Pinson. In March, the Jefferson County Board of Education approved of the new cafeteria being built.
The tentative budget for the project is more than $1.5 million. When 34 classrooms were added to the school a few years ago, enrollment swelled from about 400 students to nearly 800. Construction will likely start in late summer or early fall.
In September 2013, the Jefferson County Board of Education approved a five-year capital plan, a prioritized, 42-item list of plans for capital projects to potentially be funded between the 2014 fiscal year and 2018 fiscal year. The fifth item on the list was a projected $2.3 million renovation for Kermit Johnson Elementary School. The funding year would be 2015, and the renovation would be for a new cafeteria to accommodate increased enrollment.
The existing cafeteria, which is connected to the gym, could be used for a large meeting room, choral room or health room. The school’s vice president of the PTA, Christy Rainwater, said earlier this year that lunch usually begins at the school around 10 a.m. to accommodate all the students.
Knight said Trussville City Schools will receive $585,000 out of Jefferson County’s present portion.
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