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County schools get AA- bond rating

Morgan County Schools received good news last week from the investment banking firm that is pursuing funding for the proposed new Priceville High School.

Superintendent Bill Hopkins reported at a regular board meeting on May 10 that the school system has received a AA- bond rating and is in good position to command a favorable interest rate when the time comes to sell bonds to finance the new school.

He said he and board members Carolyn Wallace, chairwoman, and Jeff McLemore found out about the rating in a conference call with Ken C. Funderburk, executive vice president of Merchant Capital, LLC, an investment banking firm with headquarters in Montgom-ery.

“This is great news,” said Hopkins, “but we’ll be in a better position to go into more detail at our next monthly meeting, after Mr. (John) Godwin (chief financial officer) has had a chance to go over the information we’ve received.”

Hopkins told board members he anticipates recommending the non-renewal of 13 certified teachers at a called meeting May 17, based on the 2012-2013 state school budget, which was approved last week by the State Legislature.

In the meantime, he said the school calendar committee would be working on a revised 2012-2013 calendar in keeping with a new state law that prohibits school systems from beginning a new school term earlier than two weeks before Labor Day and end by the Friday before Memorial Day.

“We will be looking at a 175-day instead of an 180-day school year,” Hopkins said. The law gives school districts the option of setting up a l,080-hour school year.”

Hopkins also extended congratulations to Priceville Elementary School on being selected as a Banner School in 2011-2012.

“This a great honor,” he said. “Only nine other schools in the state were tapped for the award.”