Gulf Shores School Board addresses non-resident enrollment policy, hires financial officer
By John Mullen
Non-resident students who currently attend Gulf Shores schools as part of the Baldwin County system could be given a chance to stay with the city if there is space, Superintendent Matt Akin (bottom) said. Tuition is expected to be a part of that policy.
The board addressed non-resident policy at a March 7 work session. During a special called meeting before the work session the board hired Chad Green (top) as the Chief Schools Financial Officer.
“There is the clause in there that gives priority to students who do have logistical hardships,” Akin said. “A specific example would be a student who lives in Fort Morgan who has to come all the way through Gulf Shores could apply under that part of it. That would be the most extreme example because they are the furthest distance from any school. To the west is a unique situation and that’s what we’re trying to address.”
Their options could be limited, however, by availability classroom space. And, positions will be made available only after any full-time staffers who live outside the city’s children are placed.
“At the end of the day it’s still going to depend on capacity and in what grade level will we have room,” Akin said.
First in line, he said will be those teachers and staff members.
“We really tried to be as fair as possible and that’s why we went the route of setting priorities,” Akin said “Really the number one priority is going to take care of those full-time employees, full-time teachers who live out of district and whose kids come to school here. We certainly want them to be allowed to bring their kids.”
Any 2019 incoming 10th, 11th and 12th graders who live out of district are covered by the separation agreement, Akin said. They will be able to attend and finish at Gulf Shores High School and not pay out-of-district tuition.
Questions have arisen about year-to-year capacities and if out-of-district students would lose their classroom spot as the in-district student population grows.
“The latest concern that had come up was if I enroll out of district can you guarantee my child will be there for the remainder of his K-12 career?” Akin said. “So, if I enroll as a third grader is he going to be accepted again as a fourth grader?
“That’s a difficult question to answer not knowing how capacity is going to look. What we changed or what we added was a priority if you’re enrolled out of district, you would have to reapply every year but you would have first priority if they have space.”
The proposed policy, available as part of the agenda on the city’s website, mentions tuition several times but what the cost has yet to be set.
“It says we can charge tuition,” Akin said. “When they approve the policy that would be the next step to decide. It hasn’t been approved so I can’t say yes, we’re charging it. But I’m confident that we will charge it for this coming school year.”
Financial Officer Hire
Green took over at Satsuma for Jean McCutcheon who was the CSFO when Satsuma separated from the Mobile County system. McCutcheon served as consultant for Gulf Shores during separation negotiations with Baldwin County.
“She was retiring and she brought him in and trained him,” Akin said. “He’s been there for the last year and a half. That’s certainly an advantage. He’s got experience in a very similar size system and all though he didn’t start it up he’s trained by the person who started it. We’re really excited about Chad.”
Green is a graduate of Huntingdon College where he attended on a full academic scholarship. He previously worked for Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore in Fairhope from 2014-17 as a senior auditor and at Draffin & Tucker, in Albany, Ga., from 2012-14 as an associate I and II auditor. He will go to work in Gulf Shores on April 1.