CCBOE superintendent aiming for mid-June graduation ceremonies

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The CCBOE maintained social distance in a meeting that was not open to the public due to capacity regulations. (Screen capture from CCBOE live stream)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) on Thursday held a work session and meeting not open to the public or media due to current state meeting attendance limits; instead, the central office livestreamed the work session and meeting via social media and supplied agendas to media beforehand via email.

During his remarks to the board, Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette talked about the temporarily suspended feeding program and the possibility of late graduation ceremonies.

Feeding program suspended but planning to return

Barnette said, “I really want to publicly thank our CNP personnel, our bus drivers, teachers, administration and staff that have all volunteered to help prepare and serve lunches during this quarantine time. Last Thursday, a week ago today, was the last time that we served meals, and we gave several, several meals per student to get them through this week. In total across our district, we served over 61,000 meals on Thursday. I worked at West Point that particular day, and we did about 11,000 meals that day. 

“I’ll tell you: several of the people that came through had tears in their eyes, thanking us, because they didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from. While the virus is supposed to be at its peak this week and next week, we will not be feeding right now, but hopefully, we’ll be starting that back very soon.”

Possibility of graduations and other activities this summer

Said Barnette, “As things become less restrictive, I want everybody to know that we have not ruled out the possibility of having high school graduation. I’ve told some people I’m committed to try to do that regardless of when we do it. I think we need to do that. I think our seniors deserve that.

“Tentatively right now, I think we’re shooting for June the 13th and 14th- that’s a Saturday and Sunday- if things begin to let up. And that will be adjusted depending on the restrictions from the governor, either moved up or moved back.”

Barnette also expressed hope that other events like Kindergarten graduations and some field trips might take place over the summer.

Holly Pond construction orders amended for extra costs

The board approved change orders for new soil and the relocation of a drainage basin and piping under the new Holly Pond High School Home Economics building addition, when soil beneath the construction site was found to be weak and a previously unknown drainage basin was discovered under asphalt that was being removed at the construction site. The drainage relocation added $24,420 to the order, and the soil repair added $4,162.40.

The board also approved Chase Oden as the first of three candidates that it will submit to the State Revenue Commission to be considered for appointment to the Cullman County Board of Equalization.

Barnette concluded the meeting by saying, “I want to thank all of our families- our CCBOE families- and our faculties and staff that have worked really hard. Our families have been really in these unprecedented times as we put together a plan of how to educate their kids and how to complete this school year. And I just want to say, ‘Thank you.’ 

“I think our community knows that we’ve never been through this before, and I think our teachers and administrators have done an absolute bang-up job to prepare this and put out a plan. I appreciate everybody working together to help complete this school year.”

Barnette finished by asking for prayer for students, parents, teachers and spouses who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or who have been laid off from jobs due to the virus.

The CCBOE meets next Thursday, May 18, at the Central Office auditorium. Work session at 5:30 p.m., with meeting following.

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com