Sixteen years and two superintendents since the Apalachicola Bay Charter School first came into existence in 2001, two leaders each with roots in the institution last week assumed the two top leadership posts in the school district.
While it wasn’t talked about openly at the district’s reorganizational meeting Nov. 22, there was no mistaking the ABC School undercurrent that swirled within the Franklin County waters that nourish the district, most of whose elementary and middle school students attend the Franklin County School in Eastpoint, and all of its high school students.
If ever there was evidence that the rivalry between the two institutions has grown and matured over the years, from tension to trust, the swearing in by County Judge Van Russell of ABC School fourth grade teacher Traci Moses as superintendent and the selection as chairman of School Board Member Stacy Kirvin, one of the ABC School’s founding fathers, was it.
Newly elected board member Carl Whaley, and returning incumbents George Thompson and Teresa Ann Martin, joined with board member Pam Marshall in choosing Kirvin, who in his first term has nurtured a stance in which he has been every bit as identified with the needs of the entire district as that of the ABC School.
Martin was then unanimously approved as vice-chairman.
Moses, the second youngest superintendent in Florida, spent time at the organization meeting in realigning the monthly schedule. After much discussion, the board agreed to hold its regular meetings twice a month, with a workshop on the third Monday, and a regular meeting on the fourth Thursday.
In addition, the school board rehired the law firm of Sanders and Duncan as school board attorneys, with Barbara Sanders again receiving $125 per hour and Donna Duncan $90. They also agreed to continue the school board scholarship.
In the regular meeting, Moses told the board she was excited to begin her new challenge.
“It’s a new season, it’s a new day for us,” she said. “I’m happy to be here. It’s an awesome team I met, and I’m looking forward to working with all of you to make a difference for education in Franklin County.
With 41 Florida counties still electing their superintendents, Moses is the second youngest superintendent in Florida, with the youngest just 33 years old, newly elected Danny Glover in Taylor County.
In the only major area of discussion, the school board voted 4-1, with Thompson objecting, to assign a custodian to work Saturdays with a newly reinstituted inmate crew. Because this will mean an additional four to eight hours a week, at overtime rates, the move is expected to cost the district about $125 a week.
Moses supported the move, arguing that while she is in favor of controlling costs, as Thompson had argued, she felt it would be a cost-effective move.
“There are times on that campus things are not being done because we don’t have the manpower,” she said. “I agree with you, I want to save money. I feel like this is in our best interest. We can’t meet the needs of that facility as it is. I want it to be clean, I want it to be safe, and I want it to be inviting.”
Kirvin agreed. “This is the best bargain for what you get,” he said.
Moses added that the money would go to workers who are among the lowest paid among the staff. “Christmas is coming, and hunting season is here,” she said. “These are the people who don’t make that much money. If I were in their shoes I would want that opportunity.”