BOE elects new board president in Tuesday meeting

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Escambia County Board of Education (Ala.) elected a new president during its regular meeting Tuesday at the Atmore Central Office.

District 5 Board Member Loumeek White was elected as the board’s next president in a 4-3 vote. District 4 Board Member Cindy Jackson was re-elected as the board’s vice president in a 4-3 vote.

District 1 Board Member Kevin Hoomes nominated White for board president, and District 6 Board Member Sherry Digmon seconded.

District 7 Board Member Coleman Wallace then nominated District 3 Board Member Mike Edwards.

The following is how the president’s vote took place: Hoomes, Jackson, White and Digmon voted for White; and Benjamin, Edwards and Wallace voted for Edwards.

Digmon then nominated Jackson for vice president, and Edwards nominated Wallace.

The following is how the vice president’s vote took place: Hoomes, Jackson, White and Digmon voted for Jackson; and Benjamin, Edwards and Wallace voted for Wallace.

The vote occurred during Action Item No. 28, which allows the board to vote for a president and vice president each November.

Benjamin, the former president, said looking back over his years on the board for 35 consecutive years, he’s been so blessed to have had the privilege to serve as president of the board over the past year.

“I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with nine superintendents,” Benjamin said. “(Superintendent) Ms. (Michele) McClung has really stepped up to the plate, and has done an amazing job on this school system. I’m thankful to have worked along side her.”

White, in his first act as the new president, thanked everyone, and entered into executive session to discuss legal matters. The board was in executive session for 42 minutes, and took no action once the regular meeting continued.

In other business, the board:

• approved an overnight trip for Escambia County’s varsity basketball team to attend the Hoover Big Orange Tournament in Hoover on Dec. 28-30, 2023;

•heard a presentation of the FY2022 Audit by the State of Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, which found in finding 2022-1, the Code of Alabama Section 16-8-37, requires the county board of education to publish in the county newspaper a receipts by source and dispersement by function for the fiscal year, and a statement of an outstanding indebtedness for the fiscal year annually during the month of October. The board didn’t publish this financial information for the fiscal year ended 2022 until June 28, 2023. The board failed to publish the financial information timely in accordance with section 16-8-37. Finding 2022-2, the Code of Alabama 16-13-A-1, requires a local board of education to ensure sound fiscal management of board finances, and upon recommendation of the superintendent, adopt management policies which would apply general accounting principles, applying to banking accounts. The September 2022 financial statement wasn’t properly reconciled to cash in the general ledger. As a result, the amounts reflected as cash weren’t substantiated;

• approved a supplement for special education teachers and speech therapists in the amount of $1,000, which will be funded by state and local funds;

• approved to pay out within two years existing sign-on bonuses for identified special education, math and science teachers contracted to receive the supplement paid out of Title II funds;

• approved to terminate teacher sign on bonus with the exception of state identified hard to staff schools;

• approved the Homeless, EL, Foster Care and Consolidated applications;

• approved an amendment to the 2023-24 salary schedule;

• reviewed the monthly financial statement for October 2023. Chief Financial Officer Rochelle Richardson said the system is still working on Fiscal 2023 school year financials. She said the system has $15,640,946.83, which is equivalent to 4.25 months of reserve; and approved 20 other action items for education development, professional development, contract renewal, accepting a bid and contract; and approved the purchase of property located at 0 Virginia St. and 829 Andrew Jackson St., both in East Brewton; other agreements and personnel recommendations, to name a few.

To see the full list of action items, which were all approved, visit www.escambiak12.net.

Additionally, Technology Supervisor Jamie Burkett was recognized early in the meeting. McClung gave him a parting gift as Burkett will be transitioning to a new role at Coastal Alabama Community College.