Hoover Superintendent’s Advisory Council kicks off with large gathering
Published 6:09 pm Thursday, June 30, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
HOOVER – Hoover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy emphasized “engagement” and “involvement” from the public as two needs she hopes to see fulfilled as she welcomed more than 100 people to the Superintendent’s Advisory Council Kickoff at Metropolitan Church of God on June 28.
“Last year, we had lots of conversations about having a Superintendent’s Advisory Council, and over 600 people said they wanted to serve on that committee,” Murphy said, noting nearly 300 people since then have responded in the form of a survey about becoming involved with the council. “It’s to offer counsel to me, it’s to give me opinions. It’s an absolutely heartfelt desire for you to be engaged with us and involved with us.”
The council’s purpose will be to work alongside Murphy, the board and other district officials to align the district’s goals in various areas with its strategic plan and budget, Murphy said.
“We need you to help us with the strategic plan,” she said. “This is a process, not an event. This is going to be an ongoing, engaging process, and we hope you will be all in.”
Proposed areas of discussion include student growth, development and achievement, personnel, finance and budget, parent and community engagement, unitary status and technology.
Committee duties will be divided among focus areas subject to review and discussion, such as belief statements, vision statement, mission statement, motto, development of the strategic plan template, liaison for all subcommittees and conducting an annual review of the overall strategic plan.
“Everybody’s opinion should be valued, and everybody’s opinion should be respected,” Murphy said. “We need to have measurable results. We need to be able to measure our successes. We have to get this right because it’s about your children.”
Murphy said team leaders will be Hoover City Schools employees, who will oversee the progress in each area. Others in the district – new Chief School Financial Officer Tina Hancock, Board of Education members and school principals, to name a few – also will help guide the process with the Superintendent’s Advisory Council.
“I want us to be on the cutting edge, leading the pack in innovative processes,” Murphy said.
Murphy reviewed focus areas in each category, from student safety and relevant curriculum to capital outlay and unitary status.
Regarding capital outlay and revenue, the Hoover City School System functions with state, local and federal funding.
“We need all those sources to support the school system,” Murphy said, noting property taxes account for a large portion of the system’s funding, in addition to sales and income taxes.
Murphy said Jefferson County has passed a resolution from their board related to the renewal of the county’s ad valorem tax, which affects Hoover schools.
“It means $7.1 million to the school district,” she said. “That’s the renewal we need you to vote for.”
Regarding the district’s work toward achieving unitary status, Murphy apologized for the uncertainty and confusion that surfaced as the board discussed rezoning plans, calling the process “painful.”
“This has been tough,” she said. “I am truly sorry. We left you hanging out there.”
The Hoover City School System will retain the 2015-2016 academic year attendance zones for the coming school year as the district works with the United States Department of Justice and the Legal Defense and Educational Fund to further develop a plan to attain unitary status.
Murphy said the district will confirm the plan with U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Haikala in January.
Those interested in working with the Superintendent’s Advisory Council should have access to a text system soon.
Committee meetings will start in July. Dates, times and locations for the meetings will be announced.
“We’re hoping by focusing on different areas, you can give us input and expertise in areas you’re interested in. We have a terrific school district. My goal is for it to be better than it is today.”