Oversight leaves Linda Nolen Learning Center without Pelham donations

An Oct. 19 Pelham City Council resolution approving the donation of nearly $120,000 to four local schools has drawn criticism from parents at the city’s newest Shelby County School — the Linda Nolen Learning Center.

Each year, the city traditionally donates money to Pelham High School, Riverchase Middle School, Valley Intermediate School and Valley Elementary School for academic purposes based upon total teacher units.

However, the LNLC was not included in the donations after beginning the school year in its new location off Shelby County 52. The special needs school was previously located in Alabaster off Alabama 119.

“I just feel like this is not right,” said Roseanna Paulin, whose son Joey attends the LNLC. “The teachers at the Center are sucking air. They have little to no resources and they need that money just as bad as the other schools.

“We’re still in Pelham and we need things for our school, too,” she added.

Mayor Don Murphy said there is a procedure each school must go through since the way the money is allocated was changed two years ago, and the LNLC did not go through the application process.

Each year, each school’s administrator must fill out a request form, specifying what the money will go towards. Prior to the change, the city paid the Shelby County Schools System directly for the water and sewer bills for each school in Pelham.

While Murphy is scheduled to present checks to each administrator during the Nov. 2 city council meeting, he did say it is possible for the LNLC to receive funds.

“The budget is set Oct. 1, but it’s not set in stone,” Murphy said.

Murphy said if the LNLC fills out the proper paperwork, he would present the information to the council.

“I’ve always found our council to be fair,” Murphy said.

Linda Nolen Principal Michele Shepherd said she intends to file the application.

“It was really our error,” Shepherd said. “We’re new to the community.”

Council member Karyl Rice said the council never intended to leave any school out, and she feels the whole situation was simply an error in communication.

“They are new to the city and have never been apart of (the donations) and it was an oversight,” Rice said. “I think it was truly an oversight.”

Like Murphy, Rice also said there is a possibility the school will receive its fair share of city donations.

“I think they need to make the request and should complete the process and if indeed we are able to do so, the council will consider amending the budget,” Rice said.