Rising seniors from the now-closed RA Hubbard High School can attend and participate in sports at any of Lawrence County’s three remaining high schools in the fall, the school board announced Thursday, and the system will keep a teacher/ popular coach at East Lawrence High School.
Superintendent Jon Bret Smith said Justin Duke, a social studies teacher and assistant football coach, has been tenured and will be employed somewhere in the school system next year.
In his report to the board, Smith said Lawrence County High is now an option for up-and-coming seniors in Hubbard, in addition to Hatton and East Lawrence High.
But District 1 school board member Christine Garner said some parents of former Hubbard students who were concerned about long bus rides met with the superintendent and principals of First Missionary Baptist Church in Courtland on Tuesday.
“They have concerns about bus schedules and other issues,” Garner said. “They want to make sure their kids get what they need.”
Smith said the transition went smoothly.
“On May 17, approximately 40 RA Hubbard parents met with principals and coaches from Hatton High, East Lawrence Middle and East Lawrence High School and had their questions answered,” Smith said.
He said the next day RA Hubbard students visited the three schools and met with students there.
Open house events in Hatton and schools in East Lawrence on May 19 were well attended, he added.
Smith said any appeal by the plaintiff against the judge’s decision allowing the Class 1A school in North Courtland to close expired at midnight on Wednesday.
On April 25, Federal District Judge R. David Proctor approved the Lawrence County School Board’s decision to close the school due to the cost of keeping it open. System data showed the school, with 145 students in grades 7 through 12, had an average annual cost per student of $18,030, by far the highest amount in the school district.
Also at Thursday’s board meeting, about 20 people in the East Lawrence community were relieved to find that the previously non-starting Duke was not on the layoff list.
“Nothing was 100% certain until the reunion,” said Kelly Davenport, parent of an East Lawrence High student and Duke supporter. “When you get a good fit for the community, you try to keep what you have. Coach Duke is the first to volunteer and completes the task at hand.
At its May 2 meeting, more than 50 people urged the board not to fire Duke, who they said was a positive role model for students. The board removed his name from the layoff list at that meeting.
In transactions involving certified personnel, counsel:
• Accepted the resignation of Jesse Lee Laster, teacher at Hazlewood Elementary; Jacob Danley, physical education teacher at Moulton Middle; Prentice Thomas, science professor at RA Hubbard; Adam Smith, social studies teacher at East Lawrence High School; Bayley Waters, elementary school teacher/high-dose tutor at East Lawrence Middle; and Joshua McGuire, a high school teacher at Hatton High School.
• Amending the employment contracts of Katherine Woodall, Elementary Teacher/High-Dose Tutor at Hazlewood Elementary, effective May 16; and Jacob Hamilton, physical education teacher at Hazlewood Elementary, beginning Aug. 3.
• Transfer of Eron Coan from elementary school teacher at Hatton Elementary to Hatton Elementary preschool at home countywide; Craig Stover, professor of social studies at RA Hubbard at professor of social studies at East Lawrence High School; Trista Clark, math teacher at RA Hubbard to math teacher at East Lawrence High School; William Wright, professor of agricultural science at RA Hubbard to professor of agricultural science at Hatton High School; Brianna Burns-Wright, English teacher at RA Hubbard to English teacher at Hatton High School; Jessica Cantrell, math teacher at RA Hubbard to math teacher at Hatton High School; Frederick Steger, countywide home special education teacher at RA Hubbard at countywide home special education teacher at Hatton High School; Amanda Frye, science teacher at RA Hubbard to science teacher at Hatton High School; Claude Hampton, physical education teacher at RA Hubbard to middle school teacher at East Lawrence Middle School; Keanne Biggs, music teacher/group director at RA Hubbard/Hazlewood Elementary to music teacher/group director at Hazlewood Elementary/East Lawrence Middle; Laura Jones, countywide home-based special education teacher at Hatton Elementary to countywide home-based special education teacher at Speake Elementary; and Judy Phillips, counselor at RA Hubbard to counselor at Hatton High and East Lawrence High.