By Nathan Prewett
Leeds – At a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Leeds Board of Education recognized a teacher who received a National Board Certification.
The teacher was Shelby Johnson, who instructs fifth grade at Leeds Elementary School, and was honored before the regular board meeting began. Certification with the National Board requires a series of tests in academic areas and submission of portfolios for evaluation.
Superintendent John Moore described the process of certification as difficult and “daunting”, saying that it is a gold standard for educators throughout the nation.
“She is a leader among teachers,” Moore said of Johnson. “She’s a special person, always goes above and beyond for her students and we’re very thankful she’s with Leeds city schools.”
The regular meeting began with the financial report by Chief School Financial Officer Ryan Miller, who said that the school system has received 17.81% of the general fund revenues.
The system is at 17.30% of the local budget revenues, which is down from 24% in November. However, he said that other systems, including in Birmingham, have experienced slight declines as well. He reported that Leeds has deposited $1 million and expressed confidence that the decline will be temporary.
In his comments, Moore brought up the stimulus packages that the government has been releasing to provide relief during the pandemic, including schools. In the previous stimulus passed in Spring of 2020 the Leeds school system received $1 million, he said.
A second stimulus was recently authorized by the government, but Moore said that is his waiting on more specific information regarding its benefits for schools although the amount of money should be more than the first amount.
Moore said that he attended a recent webinar with State Superintendent Eric Mackey, who said that the stimulus money can be used over two school years and that it can be used for personnel.
According to Moore, Mackey discussed vaccines in schools, saying that the temperature requirements may complicate administering them to students. School systems may have to contact independent providers to set up clinics to provide vaccines once they become available for students.
Moore also said that Leeds is among 41 other systems that have grown in student populations despite the pandemic causing a shortage of enrollments in other school systems. He said that as a result the system will receive more funds from the state but does not know the exact amount yet.
He also said that there is a proposal in the Alabama legislature that will provide a one-time hold harmless for schools that have lost student attendance, citing 1,100 students lost in the Jefferson County system.
In other business the board:
- Extended its policy regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act, which requires employers to provide paid 10 days of sick leave or family and medical leave to employees for reasons related to the COVID pandemic,
- Approved renewing its HVAC contract at Leeds Elementary School for $20,000 per year
The next board meeting will take place on Feb. 9 at the Leeds City Board of Education Building at 6 p.m.