Pelham donates $129,416 to city schools

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham officials will donate $129,416 to the five public schools in the city during the 2011 budget year, members of the Pelham City Council announced during a Nov. meeting.

During the meeting, the council unanimously passed a resolution to make donations to Valley Elementary School, Valley Intermediate School, Riverchase Middle School, Pelham High School and the Linda Nolen Learning Center.

The council will present the donations to representatives from each school during its Dec. 6 meeting.

Before the city’s 2010 budget year, Pelham officials donated to the schools through in-kind water and sewer service, but moved to cash donations for the 2010 budget year.

To determine the total amount to be given to the schools through cash donations, the city officials calculated what the in-kind services would have cost the city, and divided the amount up to each school based on teacher units.

Last year, there were 238 teacher units in the city’s schools, but the number rose to 242 this year, bringing the per-teacher donation down slightly from $504.20 to $495.85.

This year, the city also budgeted the same per-teacher donation for the 19 teachers at the Linda Nolen Learning Center. The school was not included in the city’s donations last year.

“These folks will join us at our next meeting, and the mayor will present checks to them individually,” Council President Mike Dickens said of the school administrators.

Through the resolution, the city required each school administrator to submit a letter explaining what they planned to purchase with the donations.

VES, which has 59 teachers, will receive $29,255.15, which it will use to purchase 37 Hewlett-Packard computers to use in classrooms throughout the school, according to VES Principal Deborah Scarbrough.

VIS has 49 teachers, and will receive $24,296.65, which it will use to outfit the school with wireless Internet gear and purchase portable laptop carts, laptop computers, electronic student response devices, classroom and library materials, and fund professional development needs and provide incentives for student and teacher achievement, according to VIS Principal Dana Payne.

RMS has 47 teachers, and will use its $23,304.95 donation to purchase ScanTron testing sheets, teacher classroom supplies, classroom technology equipment and other needs, said RMS Principal Charles Smith.

PHS has the most teachers at 87, and will use its $43,138.95 donation to purchase classroom supplies, classroom technology supplies, wireless Internet equipment and extra support and resources for Adequate Yearly Progress accountability, said PHS Principal Bob Lavett.

The Linda Nolen Learning Center will use its $9,421.15 donation to fund professional development for teachers, purchase technology equipment and repair the school’s ropes course, said LNLC Principal Michele Shepherd.

In other business, the council agreed to use an Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Land and Water Conservation Fund Program grant to make improvements to the tennis courts and picnic areas at Pelham City Park.