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Students celebrate RCS board for appreciation month

Russellville Elementary School students attended the Jan. 24 Russellville City Schools Board of Education meeting as part of School Board Appreciation Month.

The RES Student Council officers and fifth-grade representatives delivered a short speech, handed out gifts to the board members and presented a video that expressed gratitude for the BOE members and the hard work they do.

“Our board is amazing and does a great job supporting our school system,” Superintendent Heath Grimes said. “I appreciate the support they give to me and most importantly to our students.”

The board voted on a serious resolution at this meeting regarding the Alabama Accountability Act. This resolution recommended the legislative repeal of the act that was passed in 2013.

The stated purpose of the AAA was to help students attending a failing school system transfer to a non-failing school system. Tax credits are given to parents who transfer their students, and scholarships are given to the students, but the money to pay for those tax credits and scholarships comes from the Alabama Education Trust Fund and the public school system.

According to statistics Grimes read from the resolution, the AAA has not served its intended purpose and has negatively impacted the Education Trust Fund and the public school system. About $30 million has been diverted from the Education Trust Fund and public schools annually for this legislation, and more than $480,000 has been diverted from RCS since the legislation’s inception.

Surveys and statistics Grimes cited show that less than 35 percent of the scholarships have gone to students zoned for failing schools, and in 78 percent of the comparisons made between scholarship recipients and those in public schools, there is no academic success difference.

The board unanimously voted to approve this resolution that calls for the act to be repealed or at least modified.

Other actions taken at the meeting included:

  • approving the financial report, which included a 3D printer, a Gravely lawn mower and classroom technology.
  • approving a contract with Larry Kennedy to clean the middle school gymnasium after basketball games for RMS and RHS this season.
  • approving the RCS 2019-20 School Calendar.
  • approving the Russellville City Police to use the RHS Driving Range and Cafeteria June 4-14 for training.
  • approving the City of Russellville Parks and Recreation Department to host a district tournament Feb. 22-23 at the RMS gymnasium.
  • approving a policy regarding the prohibition of bullying, intimidation, violence and threats of violence.
  • approving the bid from Wright Equipment of $38,348.14 for RHS weight room equipment.