Muscle Shoals City Schools

August 18, 2020

Keeping You Updated on our Reopening Plans

We look forward to seeing some students on Thursday, August 20 as we open all schools on a staggered (alternating day) schedule for the first seven days. Friday, August 28 will be a virtual day for all students.

Remember that each principal has/will communicate the individual school plans for staggered start. Also, kindergarten staggered start is somewhat different like it has been for the past several years for a smooth transition from home to school.

For now, we CONTINUE to plan for all in-person learners to return to MSCS campuses on Monday, August 31 as presented in our last newsletter.

Keep in mind, this may change if our local COVID circumstances change. At any moment, we could return to the staggered schedule or go completely virtual. We have to be prepared for either scenario.

This is not a breaking news story. This is simply, "We will continue with our plan of doing a staggered start through August 28."

If our local COVID curve continues on a downward slope as indicated by local health statistics, all in-person students will return for class on Monday, August 31 (still two weeks from now). If our curve starts back in the wrong direction or our risk level changes according to ADPH, I will reconsider extending the staggered start.

Even if the governor lifts the statewide mask order in public places, we will keep it in place in the Muscle Shoals City Schools for the time being. As we all know, social distancing in a school setting is difficult in some circumstances and not always practical in others, so the masks will be important in keeping our schools open and operational and our students healthy.

Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding.

Resource: Alabama COVID Risk Indicator Map (ADPH)

COVID-19 numbers continue to drop; officials urge caution as Labor Day nears

Numbers continue in a good direction, but leaders are warning people to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19 as another holiday nears.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said Monday in Madison County’s regular briefing that the number of active quarantine cases being monitored in the county was down from 1,170 on Friday to 977 on Monday.

“This is the first time we have been below a thousand since July 8th,” Battle said. Active monitored cases are people who have had the disease and are under quarantine.

For more of this story, click here.

Willis Thompson Nominated for All State School Board Member

The Alabama Association of School Boards, through its All State School Board Member awards program, commends up to five past or present school board members across the state who have exhibited exemplary boardmanship. Nominations are accepted in the early fall, and winners are announced during AASB's convention in December.

On Monday night, the Muscle Shoals Board of Education formally nominated former board member, Mr. Willis Thompson, for the honor. The program honors past board members who have left their post in the last 12 months. Mr. Thompson's term on the board of education ended this past June after he served 15 years with the school district. Congratulations, Mr. Thompson.

Grant will pay for mental health coordinator

By Lisa Rickman with the TimesDaily (read the complete article here)

The State Department of Education is making funds available to help schools better meet the needs of students requiring mental health services. Districts that applied for the $40,000 grant and were approved for funding will be adding mental health services coordinators this fall.

School systems throughout the Shoals have been awarded the funding. The grants are for one year, but school officials are hoping the Alabama Legislature will see fit to continue providing the funds.

Denise Woods, assistant superintendent for the Muscle Shoals City Schools, said increased mental health services are in great need. "This grant will go a long way toward providing a coordinator to assist in prevention, intervention and community outreach in relation to the mental health needs of our students," she said.

Woods added outreach and interaction with the community is a vital component of the new positions. She hopes to have someone in the Muscle Shoals position in early October.

Budget Facts

The Muscle Shoals Board of Education held its first of two budget hearings for FY21 on Monday night. Here are some quick facts from the Chief Schools Financial Officer on the financial health of our school system.

Financial Management
As of July 2020, MSCS has a 2.29 months reserve. The reserve was at 2.26 months for the same month in the prior year. By law, we are required to maintain a 1 month operating reserve.

  • The average experience of our teachers is 16.48 years.
  • The percentage of our teachers with advanced degrees is 81%.
  • MSCS has 211 total certified faculty and 17.6 of them are funded locally. The remainder are funded with state or federal funds.
  • District enrollment is up from 2,784 for FY20 to 2,798 for FY21.

Classroom Instructional Funds:

  • Instructional Materials ~ $600/teacher
  • Technology ~ $350/teacher
  • Library Enhancement ~ $157.72/teacher
  • Professional Development ~ $100/teacher
  • Textbooks ~ $75/student

Revenue Sources: (total revenue projected $31.2 million)

  • State $17.8 million
  • Local $11.8 million
  • Federal $1.4 million

Of the $11.8 million received locally, here is a breakdown of the majority of those funds:

  • $3.7 million from district 16 mills
  • $1 million from county 5 mills
  • $1.1 million from county sales tax
  • $1.4 from Muscle Shoals City Council
  • The remainder comes from various other city and county tax sources.

Total projected revenues are expected to be down for FY21 due to a decrease in sales tax (a consequence of COVID-19), and the general fund will be utilized to balance the budget.

MSCS has 7 schools with 7 principals, 4 assistant principals, 7 counselors, 4.5 media specialists, and 211 certified teachers.

Per Pupil Expenditures (PPE)
FY2019 $9,939
FY2020 $10,924
FY2021 $10,174 (proposed)

Compare our districts PPE to other districts by referring to this state resource. You will find that our district's PPE is very much in line with comparable districts and represents a strong investment in academics. In fact, our district is spending less per student and getting similar or better academic results than districts that are spending a lot more.

In 2013, MSCS acquired a $9.9 million bond to build the Muscle Shoals Career Academy ($6.7 million) and to build the in-door athletic facillity ($3.2 million). Additionally, the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) issued in 2009 was used to purchase the land that the Career Academy sits on, to provide security upgrades to school campuses, and to enhance the girls locker room and restrooms at the MSHS gym.

One month operating cost
$2.14 million


  • Annual audits conducted by an independent CPA Firm
  • Monthly financial statements and expenditures are presented and approved monthly by the Board of Education.
  • Financial statements and check registers are accessible via the school systems website
  • Annual Accountability Reports are available to the public in December

Board of Education Meetings and Minutes Available on Website

Go to this link anytime to view past meetings of the Muscle Shoals Board of Education or to read the minutes of each work session and meeting (still under construction).

Click below to read our previous communication on reopening the Muscle Shoals City Schools


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