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Redfield task force to convene

Representatives of the White Hall School Board and members of a task force formed to oppose closure of the Redfield Middle School tentatively agreed last week to meet in late December or early January in an attempt to resolve the issue of the school, constructed by the WPA in 1930.

Task force members are looking at a number of options, including a sales tax, in an effort to save the school, Redfield Mayor Tony Lawhon told the school board Nov. 13.

It was agreed that Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith will set a date for the meeting.

The issue surfaced during a Sept. 25 during a board planning session. No board votes have been taken on the closure issue, one of several dozen discussed by the directors.

Lawhon told the school board that the middle school and Hardin Elementary School are vital to Redfield’s future. A standing-room-only crowd from Redfield filled the board room at the district administrative office.

A one-cent sales tax would generate about $150,000 annually to help keep the school open, Lawhon said, adding Redfield residents are looking at a number of available options.

Amanda Kight, a task force member, challenged financial data the board considered in September.

Smith provided the board with an updated analysis of district enrollment and potential additional expenses that may be incurred over employee benefits, pension costs for district employees and potential federal education aid cuts.

The board unanimously adopted a resolution last week encouraging Congress to take steps to avoid across-the-board budget cuts that could become effective Jan. 2 without an amendment to the Budget Control Act of 2011.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted a bid of $6,575 from Stadium Pros of Red Bay, Ala., to replace the wood planks on the bleachers at the White Hall High School baseball field and install a chain link fence along the outer edge of the bleachers.

• Recognized the WHHS boys and girls golf teams for finishing second in the 5A South Conference and placing fifth in 5A state matches; Mary Passmore and Lizzie Bridgforth on the WHHS girls tennis team placed third in 5A South; Cole Guy on the WHHS boys tennis team placed first in 5A South and third in the 5A state finals, while Tyler Sidwell placed third in 5A South; and two members of the high school volleyball team, Marleigh Pearce and Maria Ramirez, were selected all-conference for their efforts.