Pelham likely to borrow for new school buildings

The Pelham Board of Education is looking to move the city's middle school to a more central location. (File)

The Pelham Board of Education is looking to move the city’s middle school to a more central location. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Board of Education likely will borrow between $40 million and $45 million in its first year of operation to construct a new elementary school and move the city’s middle school to a more central location, the board’s president told a group of teachers on Jan. 14.

During a meeting with about 50 Pelham High School teachers at the school on Jan. 14, Pelham School Board President Rick Rhoades said the board is planning to seek the loan soon after finalizing its split from the Shelby County School System.

Rhoades said the Pelham School Board is “committed” to starting its city school system on July 1, 2014.

“We are going to have to build a new elementary school,” Rhoades said. “And we are going to try to move the middle school if we can. We need to get out of Riverchase.”

Rhoades previously said Pelham’s schools currently are not centrally located to the city’s population, particularly those living east of Interstate 65.

“In Ballantrae, where I live, I was driving out at about 6 a.m., and there were kids waiting for the bus,” Rhoades told the teachers. “That’s just too early.”

Rhoades previously said preliminary plans call for constructing a new elementary school east of I-65 and possibly expanding Valley Intermediate School to serve as the city’s middle school.

“Right now, we’ve got to get our schools centralized,” Rhoades said.

During the meeting, Rhoades also gave teachers updates on the School Board’s recent actions, including its hiring of a legal firm and an accounting firm.

Rhoades told the teachers their tenure status will carry over from the Shelby County School System to the Pelham school system “as long as there is no break in service.”

“If you are here and you stay here, you will keep your tenure. If you are three years along (on your tenure status), that will carry over,” Rhoades said. “If you leave and then come back, that gets into some grey areas.”