North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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August 23, 2013

NJN/am for Friday, August 23

Friday is here, and let’s play some football…

Weather: You’ve heard this before. It will be partly sunny and warm today with a 20 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms today and a high near 90. Mostly clear tonight with a low near 70. More of the same is on store for Saturday and Sunday.

“When are we going to get some help?” The mother of a seventh-grade student at Fultondale High School took her case directly to the Jefferson County Board of Education on Thursday night. Melisha Smith, who was an educator herself when she lived in Arizona before moving to Alabama, asked the board and Superintendent Stephen Nowlin what their plans were to alleviate the problems caused by the school’s aging physical plant. Nowlin acknowledged that something will have to be done about a newer facility in the next two to three years, but that the board would have to wait to see what the city of Gardendale does about splitting off from the county system, as that would affect the size of any new school to be built. And speaking of the proposed Gardendale school system…

“We want Gardendale to stay.” Nowlin said that he hopes that the city will remain within the county schools, and expressed that to a delegation of city leaders recently. “I think the study [commissioned by the city] did a good job of identifying revenues, but it was incomplete on costs and expenditures,” he said. “I think they’re going to be surprised at how expensive this is going to be.” Nowlin said that JefCoEd has a large investment in Gardendale, and any pull-out should not end up costing the county system money as a result, such as costs relating to moving vocational education programs now at Gardendale High that students from other high schools also attend. We’ll have more about last night’s board meeting, and Nowlin’s comments afterward about the Gardendale situation, later today at njeffersonnews.com.

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