By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune
CENTER POINT – During a meeting of the Center Point City Council on Thursday night, Principal Vann Phillips from the high school addressed the schools’ recent scores on report cards released by the Alabama State Department of Education.
Erwin Elementary School received an “F” grade on the report cards. Center Point High School and Erwin Middle School both received “D” grades.
However, Phillips challenged these grades, saying that what has been reported by media is, “not a true indication of what takes place everyday at Center Point Elementary School under the leadership of Mr. [Jay] Gary, at Erwin Intermediate School under the leadership of Ms. Kirsten Logan-Marshall, and Erwin Middle School under the leadership of Ms. Serra Peterson.”
Phillips provided copies of data related to the ASDE’s A-F report cards and how they rate schools based on academic achievement, academic growth, graduation rate, college and career readiness and chronic absenteeism.
He said that in the case of chronic absenteeism there are sometimes certain circumstances that students are forced into, causing them to miss school. He cited an example of a local student that had to attend funerals of family members outside of the state and then recently contracted the flu when he returned. The number of days missed (15 or more in the report cards) can have a “devastating” effect in the scores, he said.
“The grades arise from numbers and figures of students that have not had the proper opportunities to reach success,” Phillips said. “In many cases we have a false equivalency taking place that Center Point High School is on the same playing field as Mountain Brook High School and that is very false. The average child that enters Mountain Brook Elementary is at an advantage. The average child that enters Erwin Elementary is at a disadvantage.”
He cited the poverty rate among students in the schools, which he said were 85 percent as well as a number of them coming from single-parent households. Many of them don’t have proper healthcare, he said.
Phillips pointed out some of the improvements that the high school has undergone, such at the graduation rate increasing to 85 percent and the lowering of the dropout rate. He also pointed out that Center Point High School leads Jefferson County schools in career technology/industrial credentials.
After Phillips’ comments, David McCullough from Central Alabama Firearms Training spoke to the council on using Hilldale Baptist as a location to film a scenario for classes. He said that CAFT uses simulators to provide scenarios of dangerous incidents where attackers may be using a weapon and how to stop them.
McCullough requested that CAFT film the inside of the building to create a scenario where someone would attack a church, saying that there has been an increase in violence at churches. The council approved the request.
In other business, the council authorized the grant of a nonexclusive license to Palmerdale Cross Baptist Church to continue using Hilldale Baptist for several more months as it transitions to a location in Pinson.
The council then set a date for a public hearing to adopt new technical codes to March 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of city hall. The council also unanimously approved a Simplified Sellers Use Tax Bill, which according to the Alabama Department of Revenue allows “eligible sellers to participate in a program to collect, report and remit a flat eight percent (8%) sellers use tax on all sales made into Alabama.”
The council approved spending funds for several projects throughout the city. The first was for the repair of the roof of a property in Court Northwest. The council selected a proposal by Shipp Roofing in Birmingham to do the repairs for more than $21,000. Next, the council considered proposals for the removal and replacement of flooring at Hilldale. Weiss Flooring was selected to perform this for $12,651.
An architect was chosen for the Hilldale building as the city prepares to use it as a recreational facility. A proposal by Formworks Building, inc. was approved for the task. Henderson estimated that the cost of a library being established in the building would be somewhat more than $18,000 while a gym would be more than $51,000.
The board for the future library was discussed, with Barlow saying that, so far, two Center Point citizens have agreed to serve. The council agreed that three citizens of the city should be on the board while two may be from outside Center Point. Barlow said that he hopes that the library will be completed by Oct. 1 this year.
In his comments, Henderson said that the city is working to implement programs for the new facility at Hilldale, including summer programs. Other programs may include activities for children, young adults and senior citizens, as well as after school and exercise/sports programs.
Henderson recognized Center Point resident, Emmy Beason, who was recently chosen as Miss Center Point. She was presented with a key to the city as she prepares to go to the Miss Alabama competition in June to represent the city.
The next meeting of the Center Point City Council will be held on Feb. 22, with pre-council at 6:45 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.