Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Teaching Jobs Lost Under Alabama Governor Bentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yet more bad news from Governor Bentley’s incompetent, do-nothing administration.

Chalk up more jobs lost.

This is a DIRECT RESULT of the closure of the International Paper manufacturing facility in Courtland.

And the best worst part is, he’s playing with our children’s lives.

Be certain to thank him at the ballot box this November.

And the bad, sad news is undeniable: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

When will Alabamians learn?

Wait… if the residents are “largely poor” they’re certain to be “uneducated, and [therefore] easy to command.”

Remember the cheer” We like it, we love it… we want some more of it!

Or if not, how about the line in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist?

Please, sir… I want some more“.

Alabama obviously likes it, and hasn’t gotten a bellyful yet.

Again… apply the circular logic of:

“largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

(Board Of Education) BOE cuts local funded teacher units

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:00 am

The Lawrence County Board of Education continued to take steps to solidify the county’s financial footing Monday night, eliminating five certified positions in an effort to cut the number of locally funded teacher units.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said more cuts could be on the horizon.

“We have to start focusing on building our financial reserves and this is one step in doing that,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with the state Board of Education to get a plan in place to build a one-month operating reserve and this is one of the suggest measures.”

Lawrence County’s one-month operating cost is roughly $3.2 million. Grimes said the board has $1.5 million in reserve.

“It’s important to understand that, yes, we are cutting units but we aren’t cutting academics,” board member Beth Vinson said. “This situation is sad but we don’t have our heads in the sand. I think we’re doing the best we can with what we have.”

Lisa Morgan (Hazlewood Elementary), Paul Sanders and Justin Helms (Lawrence County High), Emily Kirchner (Hatton Elementary) and Michelle Oliver (East Lawrence Elementary) were the five non-tenured cuts.

Grimes also said the district will be eliminating a number of positions through attrition, lowering the number of locally funded units from 17 to 11.5 next year.

The cuts will save roughly $400,000 annually.

Grimes insisted the cuts would not affect district academics.

“We’re working hard to comply with the state,” he said. “All of the decisions, which are essentially cuts, are being done as far away from our classrooms as possible.”

The board could make moves to build the reserve almost immediately, but the cost to students would be dire.

“We could absolutely go in and cut out AP offerings, athletics and extracurriculars,” Grimes said. “We don’t want to do that, though. We want to offer the very best to our students and we feel like this gives us that option.”

Moves, of course, are being made to offset the loss of International Paper. When the mill fully shutters operations the district will suffer a nearly $1 million loss in yearly property tax revenue. Sales tax revenue is also down, with projections showing a nearly $400,000 loss when the current budget is up on September 30.

“Cuts have to be made, that’s the reality,” Vinson said. “If we don’t take these steps we could be facing other cuts that nobody wants.”

Board members also approved the retirement of 28 district employees, including 19 teachers.

Grimes said a majority of the teachers will not be replaced because the system had to use the salary of seven special special education teachers as part of the district’s federal match requirement.

“There are certain requirements that must be met to ensure we keep all of our federal funding,” he said. “This is one of those requirements. It’s hard, but it has to be done.”

The majority of personnel moves made during the meeting were related to school realignment, as more than 200 students will change schools for the 2014-2015 year.

Students now attending Speake will transfer to Moulton Middle, Mount Hope students will move to Hatton and Hazlewood seventh- and eighth-graders will relocate to R.A. Hubbard.

R.A. Hubbard’s K-6 operations will move to Hazlewood, leaving Hazlewood as a K-6 school while Hubbard services grades 7-12.


(International Paper plant in Courtland) IP closure may have greater impact

Lawrence County could face loss of $1.7 million in taxes

By Meredith Qualls For the TimesDaily | Updated 3 months ago
NOTE: (Date of Publication is unstated & imprecise, approximately February 2014 – Sloppy writing, poor editing & the headline stinks.)

MOULTON — Members of a committee formed to weigh the impact of International Paper’s closing fear the immediate hit to county budgets may be worse than early predictions.

Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes said after a meeting Tuesday the numbers taken from the revenue commissioner’s office show that if all personal property is removed from the plant by October 2015, Lawrence County could lose an estimated $1.7 million payment in lieu of taxes.

“This does appear to be much worse than we originally thought,” committee chairman Bobby Burch said.

The county’s general fund could lose as much as $400,000, while the school system could lose about $900,000. Budgets could be affected as early as fiscal 2016, Grimes said.

Committee members emphasize the personal property figures are highly variable and do not represent the total reverberation from the Courtland Mill’s closure, which is expected in the first quarter of 2014. The move will eliminate about 1,100 jobs at the plant.

“We know it’s an impact. We just don’t know when and how much,” Grimes said.

Additionally, the city of Courtland receives about $771,000 annually in tax revenue from International Paper.

Committee members also discussed the the company’s bond issue, which is managed by the Courtland Industrial Development Board. The board agreed Monday to work with the post-closure committee to evaluate the bond issue, Courtland Mayor Clarence Logston said.

Logston said the original bond was created in 1968, but several more exist. Neither Logston nor other committee members know the total bond amount. The board agreed to contact their attorney, Gene Lentz, to discuss the bond issue.

“We need to know what terms they’re going to execute under,” committee member Larkin Martin said.

Committee members also delegated various tasks, including asking state and federal representatives for financial assistance and touring the Courtland mill to assess the site’s potential.

The meeting was also attended by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey’s deputy chief of staff, Taylor Nichols, and Kreg Kennedy, a representative of U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, who represents the county.

Tax consequences

Annual personal property taxes that Lawrence County may lose from International Paper closing:

General fund: $414,572

Road and bridges: $148,061

Hospital: $236,898

Schools: $937,152


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