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Co. School Board has a busy meeting

By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
The Escambia County Board of Education opened its meeting with a moment of silence in memory of Reshena Young and Chason Godbolt. The two W.S. Neal High School seniors were killed in a traffic accident last month.
The school board praised Neal principal Phillip Ellis, teachers and guidance counselors for their handling of the tragic deaths and support of students in their grief.
Among other items of business, Superintendent Melvin Powell reported to the board on the progress of its new Suspension Deferral Program. The Escambia County Board of Education received a federal grant in the amount of $31,234 in March to fund the program.
This pilot program gives administrators at W.S. Neal High School the option to assign students to community service on Saturdays rather than suspending them during the school week.
Donna Revel, attendance coordinator for the county, added, "If we do a good job, we'll get this funded for three years, so we want to do a good job."
In other business, the board:
Powell said that the State of Alabama requires that anyone working with children be fingerprinted.
The Escambia County Board of Education has successfully completed fingerprinting of its employees, with the exception of one person who has refused. Powell has sent a letter and spoken in person with the employee. His recommendation to the board is that the employee be dismissed if he doesn't comply by the last day of school in May.
Powell said these funds would be lost if not used by Sept. 2004.