Tuesday, August 30, 2016

TOP STORY >> Demolition full speed ahead

Leader senior staff writer

With the Jacksonville-North Pulaski County School District moving forward on near- and long-range plans, part of the old middle school at Main Street and Sharp Drive looks like a tornado hit and cleanup has begun.

But it’s Bobby Moyer and his track hoe that have torn into the old buildings, no random act of nature.

Moyer, who said he’s on or ahead of schedule to demolish the old buildings and haul them off, says he could be done sometime in October, before the November deadline.

Ed London, project superintendent for Baldwin and Shell, works at the 30-acre site and says of Moyer’s group, “They are making good time.”

Moyer has a crew pulling steel fixtures out for recycling. It’s loaded onto Tenenbaum Recycling Group trailers, Moyer said. The old wood has to go to a registered landfill, he said, and all the brick and block rubble will go to sites as fill.

Actual construction on the new high school, estimated to cost about $60 million, won’t begin until after the state commits to its partnership matching funds in May.

The new Jacksonville High School should be ready for students in August 2018, and is expected to be an impressive gateway to downtown Main Street, looming above traffic on the nearby Hwy. 67/167 bridge.

That high school eventually will build out to about 50 classrooms, four science labs and assorted other activity rooms, according to WER architect Russ Fason.


In a workshop after last week’s board meeting, the state Education Improvement Unit explained to board members the path toward getting Jacksonville Middle School out of academic distress. The school will be required to report quarterly to a district leadership team, which will report to the school board and on to the state board of education.

“We talked about the difficulty in changing the school culture,” said Chief of Staff Phyllis Stewart.

Assistant Superintendent Byran Duffie led a discussion on school funding, and he presented the board with an estimated fiscal year 2017 budget based on projected revenues of $31.2 million, more than three-quarters of it earmarked for salary and benefits, nine percent for maintenance and operation, $1.5 million in debt service payments and $1.7 million in Medicaid match.

The end balance for this school year is estimated at $3.5 million.


The board last week also filled most of the remaining personnel openings.

Those hires include: Katie Meyers and Christy Wheeler, elementary teachers; Mary Beth Sanders and Amber Thomas, special education, and Verlancie Tucker, media specialist.

Jaimee Blasingame added middle school spirit team coach to her existing math teacher duties, and April Schneider has hired as a media specialist.

Teacher Mary Adkins will also be high school dance coach; Ashley Free was hired to teach secondary science and ninth-grade cheer; teacher Kaylei Kennedy was hired to coach varsity cheer; Brandye McCue, art and Jamie Carman-Reagan, secondary science

Middle and high school coaches hired were:

Correy Muldrew, boys’ ninth-grade assistant basketball; Matthew Boeving girls’ ninth-grade assistant basketball and boys’ high school head track coach; Bobby Evins, boys high school assistant track; Marian Kursh, girls high school head track coach; head track coach; Lydia Shelton, girls assistant track; Hank Hawk golf coach and Bryan Eagle, high school assistant baseball.

Laranda Burrow was hired as speech-language pathologist.

Among the classified employees hired were: Sheri Adams, Christine Gatewood, Colby Hidalgo, Sandra Spencer and Gloria Stevenson, all special ed para-professionals, and Amanda Wilson, attendance clerk.

Kimberly Grimes was hired as cafeteria manager, and Alicia Carter, Kaylee Dagen, Carson Fulmer, Evelyn Harris, Thurnishia McCastle, Brenda Holley Rose and Dana Throckmorton as cafeteria workers.

Foster Baker and Craig Hartaway were hired as security officers and Laura Kelloms and Linton Kettle as bus drivers.

Paula Benton, Joshua Collins, Chris Hill, Benard Lanigan, Phillip Mason, Regi-nald Nichols, Blanca Orellana, Benia Rodriguez and Kaylin Rowe were hired as custodians.

Fifteen people hired earlier resigned and another 14—mostly cafeteria workers and bus drivers failed to report to work or call for two days and were let go for job abandonment.

Licensed resignations included those by Ronn Atkinson, Amanda Lair, Anna Cullum, John Gilliame, Lydia Hardin, Jennifer Jackson, Lesli Eagle, Rowena Lowe and Brandon Riley. Classified resignations included Jason Evans, Larry Hamsher, Jan Gray, Karrie Jarrett, Roderick King and Holeigh Struble.

Let go for job abandonment were cafeteria workers Tamika Cohns, Jennifer Johnston, Margaret Smith, Debbie White, Teresa Williams and Heather Woodall.

Bus drivers let go for abandonment were: Sharon Besancon, Paula German, Alfreda King, Jacoby Roark and Freddie Taylor.

Others were Albert Bass, Marilyn Jones-Pugh and Venisha Brown.

KTHV-11 will feature Jacksonville High School Titans teams, cheerleaders and band between 5 and 7 a.m. Friday morning, according to Stewart.

The Titans take the field at home for the first time at 7 p.m. Friday against Mills High School that evening.