Chambers County School District hires firms to handle lawsuit

Published 9:00 am Saturday, December 18, 2021

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At the Chambers County School Board meeting on Wednesday, the Chambers County School board voted to hire two consulting firms, CBG Strategies and Unite, to help them address a pending litigation issue pertaining to Lee v. Chambers County Board of Education, a federal desegregation court case from the early 90s dealing with unitary status, according to CCSD Superintendent Casey Chambley.

Chambley said CBG Strategies is a public relations firm, while Unite helps with “diversity, equity and inclusion.”

In other business at the meeting, the board voted to amend a policy that dictated when CCSD employees would be paid.

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Chambley explained that CCSD has a policy of releasing payroll checks on the last working day of the month, except for in December, when checks are made available the last workday before Christmas break.

“We would like to change this policy,” he said. “For those of you that have been teachers and worked in the system before, we pay on Dec. 17. Well, this year, we’re paying on the last working day of December. And typically, we do not pay again until the last working day of January. And it could be Monday, the 31st of January before they get paid again, which is 45 days. That is a long period between paychecks.”

Chambley explained that if the board approved a new policy, payroll checks would go out on Dec. 17, then on the Jan. 21 and again on the Feb. 25 instead of the last working days of those months.

During the superintendent’s report, Chambley wished everyone a merry Christmas and happy holidays.

“I want to thank all of you for all of the work that you do — all of our employees as well as our board members” he said. “Time flies. It seems like just yesterday that we were starting school and kicking off the fall season and trying to get back to normal after COVID. And it seems like we’ve gone through some ups and downs through that time this year, but we’ve made it to the holiday season.”

Chambley said that there was a lot to be thankful for. He thanked families for entrusting CCSD with their children.

“We do the best we can daily,” he said. “We don’t always get it right, but we do the best we can. We try to educate them to make them good citizens and hope that we can do that, and we continue to strive to grow and get better.”

Chambley announced that Friday, Dec. 17 will be a half-day, so teachers can have time to grade exams. He said different schools would get out at different times.

“We have instituted a new exam policy,” he said. “As you know, we voted on our new exam policy through our code of conduct last year. We made it to where our students cannot exempt exams during the first semester. And so all of our students in middle school and high school are taking exams this week.”

Chambley said that when students are exempted from final exams, they don’t get a chance to prepare for taking for long, comprehensive tests like the ACT.

CCSD’s COVID-19 numbers are still low, Chambley said, as are transmission rates in schools. However, he said the school system is having some issues with the flu, especially at Valley High School. He said he hoped winter break would help flu transmission rates die down.

The board also approved the financial statement for Nov. 2021.

Chief Financial Officer Cassandra Allen said total receipts for November amounted to $4,649,269.70. Total expenses were $4,614,033.93, leaving a net fund equity on Nov. 30, 2021 of $6,777,178.00. Last year’s net fund equity in November was $5,413,721, a difference of about $1.3 million.