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Wheeler County School Board Elects Officers; Groundbreaking for New School Set for February 2

Michael “Sandy” Morrison will continue his role as chairman of the Wheeler County Board of Education. He was elected during the board’s January 11 meeting in Alamo. Judy Benton was re-elected as board vice-chair. Other posts approved by the board included Russell Clark, Perry Avery, Blake Sharpton, and Harbin and Hartley as legal representation for the Wheeler County School System. The board also voted to continue banking with Wheeler County State Bank. The board approved the 2021 meeting schedule and will meet in the Conference Room at the Board of Education Office at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of every month except October. Because of a scheduled holiday, October’s meeting will be held on October 18. Superintendent Suzanne Couey provided an update on the recent demolition and temporary restructuring as preparations are made to begin construction on the new K-12 facility. Eight middle school classrooms were relocated due to demolition; however, class sizes remain manageable. The bus pick-up and drop-off site has moved to the front of the high school gym. The school’s greenhouse, middle school wing, and almost all of the middle school gym have been demolished. Couey reported that demolition should be complete within a week of the board session. Preparing for the reconstruction ahead, Couey presented submittal information on requests for proposal for the school’s new transportation and agricultural facilities. After reviewing evaluation criteria and results, the board approved Graham and Studstill as the contractors for both projects. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new school is scheduled for February 2. The time of this event has been changed to 11 a.m. with board member training to follow at 1 p.m. Couey presented a tentative groundbreaking ceremony agenda for the board’s review and stated “the ceremony may have to be recorded or live streamed for the community due to COVID-19.”

Students returned to school on January 11, a delayed start to the spring semester due to an increase in COVID cases among staff. As the cases in the community and state continue to increase, all staff and students are required to wear masks at all times. Couey stated that she and administrators “would carefully monitor cases and move to remote learning if warranted.” Couey informed the board that staff members were very appreciative of the bonuses they received with their December checks in recognition of their dedication throughout the last year.

In other business, Sierra Wood was approved as a classroom substitute; and Brittany Haymons was approved as a substitute bus driver, pending completion of required training.

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