MOULTON — R.A. Hubbard isn’t closing, but the school is “academically failing,” Superintendent Jon Bret Smith said Thursday night.
Parents and teachers concerned about the school’s future packed a Lawrence County school board meeting at the board office but were told rumors in the community about the school possibly closing were false.
“I don’t know where the rumor comes from, but that’s not in the makings,” Smith said. “It’s not happening, but even if it was, the board single-handedly can’t do that with a vote. That has to go through the court system.”
Smith added that the board is concerned about academic standards at R.A. Hubbard.
“There are several areas that need to be addressed,” he said.
Smith said the school has received some testing data that he is not able to release at this time. Results are still inconclusive as returning seniors may opt to retake ACTs they took as juniors to raise their scores.
Smith said the agenda for the special called board meeting was primarily concerned with personnel changes within the school system and the distribution of a state-granted supplemental appropriations fund to each school.
President of the Lawrence County Chapter of the NAACP Jan Turnbore addressed the school board requesting that R.A. Hubbard not be overlooked in matters of staffing and funding.
“Our main concern is that the students at R.A. Hubbard receive the same amenities Hatton, East Lawrence and Lawrence County High have,” he said.
“We are willing to work with the school board to try to get quality teachers, but when we get those teachers in there, don’t let them just stay two years and take them and send them somewhere else. Let them stay there.”
Turnbore said he was also concerned that R.A. Hubbard operates without an assistant principal, and that funding is not being distributed fairly among the four high schools in the county.
“Hatton, Lawrence County High and East Lawrence, they get everything they need, but it seems like R.A. Hubbard is the school that’s always on the bottom. They’re always suffering,” he said. “We want our children to have every advantage in the school system that these other schools have.”
Smith said teachers who request transfers to other schools within the county are likely to leave their positions altogether if their requests are not granted.
“So, the board itself is in a quandary. If we have a good employee who requests to transfer, and if we deny that transfer, we lose that employee,” he said. “As far as assistant principals … the state has a formula, and the state tells you who earns an assistant principal and who does not.”
Smith also attributed funding distributions to state Department of Education calculations. He said needs are being addressed at every school through state-granted supplemental appropriation funds, which can be used only for transportation, insuring the facilities, repairs or deferred maintenance, school safety measures, technology and classroom instructional support.
“To say that the Board of Education is not sending as many funds to R.A. Hubbard that they are in any other school, it’s simply not true,” said Smith.