The Madison County Board of Education began its first meeting of the year by voting for board member Greg Wilkes to serve as board chairman and board member Robert Hooper to serve as vice-chairman.
Wilkes replaces former board chairman Jim Patton, who retired as a board member at the end of 2012. Hooper replaces Wilkes as vice-chairman. Two new members, Cindy Nash and Amy McKenzie, took their places at the board table.
The board will attend a retreat this Saturday, Jan. 12, at the board offices in Danielsville.
In other business, the board voted to provide free meals (breakfast and/or lunch) to local law enforcement officials in an effort to provide an increased presence in schools. Superintendent Dr. Allen McCannon said he feels this will not only increase the safety aspect in schools, but provide an additional assurance for parents as law enforcement will be in and out of school buildings. In addition to a school resource officer at the high and middle schools, McCannon also pointed out that officers with the local CHAMPS program are at different elementary schools on an almost daily basis.
“We are very fortunate with the relationship we have with law enforcement here,” McCannon said.
The BOE accepted a contract with Mountain Education Charter High School, which is to be located in the old Bowman Elementary School in Bowman. McCannon said the school specializes in being an alternative school for students who have struggled in the traditional school setting and helps these students obtain a high school diploma. The contract comes at no cost to the county school system. McCannon said the system may help with transportation if there is enough demand.