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Fowler presents legislative update to board

Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler presented a legislative update to the Madison Board of Education on April 5.

Currently, Alabama legislators are considering eight bills affecting schools:

* Ethics bills – Scrutinizing gifts to teachers, especially during Christmas season. The 370 Madison employees earning more than $50,000 must file an ethics form.

* Mandatory school age – Lowering minimum age from seven to six years for children to attend public schools.

* School Board Governance and Improvement Act — Questions education requirements of school board members. Board member Connie Spears said the Alabama Association of School Boards wants a high school diploma or equivalent as a minimum.

* TVA in-lieu-of taxes — “After the 2010 census, we are showing growth and we expect the in-lieu-of taxes for Madison City to increase. I hope other systems realize we expect our share of the pie,” Fowler said.

* Alabama School Flexibility Bill — Proposes budgetary leniency to school boards for satisfying State Board of Education mandates.

* School Start Date — A perennial bill about first day of classes.

* Tim Tebow Act — Would allow home or church school students to participate in athletics at public school. “I know it would be very difficult for Robby Parker or Dr. John Green to have kids on an athletic field who are not part of the school day … and behavior mores (or standards) of the schools,” Fowler said.

* Education Options Act — Authorizes public charter schools. “We call this the Phil Williams bill,” Fowler said. “It has been mired in the legislative cog.”

Senior construction manager Kevin Gunnison said work at James Clemens High School is “still on schedule and on track.” The major remaining task is the auditorium.

After faculty and parent evaluation, the district has adopted enVision Math textbooks, which meet common core standards. All textbooks include printed and online formats with videos.

The first two weeks of July will be “dead time” with no activities at schools, allowing families to schedule vacations, Dennis James said. James is coordinator of safety, security, communications and student services.

The board approved Camp Invention at West Madison Elementary School, summer school and chess camp at Rainbow Elementary School. Liability and defense costs were extended for pending litigation from the family of Todd Brown, who was killed at Discovery Middle School.

Transportation specialist Bobby Jackson said state inspection of the school bus fleet was at 98.6 percent accuracy. The only fault was with one tire.

For February, the system had an ending fund balance of $57,916,326.

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