County schools land $20,000 fine arts grant

Published 4:43 pm Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crenshaw County Schools are now operating on $879,000 worth of grants, thanks largely in part to a recent windfall of grant opportunities.

“These aren’t grants that we’re looking at two or three years in the future; that’s what we’re operating on this fiscal year,” said Crenshaw County Schools Superintendent William Wilkes.

The most recent of the awards includes a $20,000 fine arts grant, which will be used for equipment, microphones and a number of additional items to enhance the classroom experience, particularly in relation to drama classes, choral performances and dance routines.

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Budgeted items include the following:

  • Five tiered choral risers, valued at $1,500
  • Three ATU 853 cardioid condenser hanging microphones, valued at $250 each
  • Three Hercules MS533B boom microphone stands, valued at $75 apiece
  • Two SM 58 Shure solo microphones, valued at $25 each
  • Six wireless headsets, valued at $300 each
  • A portable sound system, valued at $4,000
  • An electronic keyboard, valued at $1,500
  • A stage lighting system, valued at $1,000
  • Two spotlights, valued at $1,000 each
  • And play rights, royalties and scripts, totaling to $1,475

The board also discussed updates for the Career Technical School Initiative during Tuesday’s meeting.

Work is continuing with the City of Luverne and the Crenshaw County Economic and Industrial Development Authority (CCEIDA) to transform an unused portion of the former slacks factory into a usable facility for three to six career technical programs.

Structural engineers inspected the facility, and a public hearing at city hall is slated for Monday in regards to continued construction.

“We have met with Dongwon, SMART and Dr. Cleveland, who is the head of the career technical department of the Alabama State Department of Education,” Wilkes added.

“He came down and he is so excited about what we’re trying to do.”

The plan is contingent on the City of Luverne receiving an economic development grant via the Community Development Block Grant, at which point the City of Luverne would enter into a long-term lease and renovate the 17,000 square-foot space into usable classrooms.

A best-case scenario would see the construction beginning this summer, with classes beginning in the fall.

“Dr. Cleveland said that I was very ambitious in wanting to start this next school term, but here is my comment: if our students need a year of welding to get out in the real world to be productive, we need to give it to them,” Wilkes said.

“I don’t want one more group of kids to graduate from Crenshaw County Schools without this opportunity, and I mean that with all sincerity.”