Muscle Shoals City Schools

September 15, 2020

September School Spotlight on Highland Park Elementary

Highland Park 2020-21

Laci Lake hired as Mental Health Counselor

On Monday, the Board of Education approved the recommendation to hire Laci Lake as the district's Mental Health Services Coordinator. She begins work on October 5, 2020. The position became available after the ALSDE awarded the Muscle Shoals City Schools a $40,000 grant. More than 80 school systems in Alabama received the same grant as the state looks to increase mental health services for Alabama students.

Mrs. Lake is a graduate of Arab High School and holds a B.S. in psychology and an M.A. in clinical mental health, both degrees earned from UNA. From 2016-2019, she worked for Riverbend, and she currently serves as a mental health and well-being counselor at the University of North Alabama. Her husband, Grant, is an elementary special education teacher in the Florence City Schools.

Homecoming Queen Rebecca Schafer

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2020 Homecoming Court

Rebecca Schafer..............................Queen

Mallie Dover...........................1st alternate

Emma Cobb..........................2nd alternate

Lauren McBrayer...................3rd alternate

Saylor Collum..............Mariana Rios Nava

Amaria Fulgham..................Hailey Tucker

Reagan Huguley..................Lauren Vance

Brylee Mackey..........................Rylee Yard

**Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography**

Jonathan Kutz Alabama SKILLS USA Member of the Month

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Clay Davis recognized as a National Merit Semifinalist!

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Templeton elected to CLAS Board of Directors

MSCS Supervisor of Student Services, Dr. Richard Templeton, has been elected president of the Alabama Council of Administrators for Special Education. In this role, he will serve on the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) Board of Directors. Additionally, Dr. Templeton received a nomination for a CLAS Leadership Award. It's always nice for our employees to be recognized at the state level!

Woods nominated for Administrator of the Year Award

Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Denise Woods, has been nominated by Sean J. Stevens of the ALSDE for the Alabama School Counselor Association's Administrator/Supervisor of the Year Award. Dr. Woods supervises our counseling program from the district level, and we appreciate Mr. Stevens recognizing the work MSCS has done in recent years to expand and improve our services in the area of guidance and counseling.

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.
MSCS September 2020 Board Meeting and Budget Hearing #2

Budget Facts

The Muscle Shoals Board of Education held its second 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.

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

  • The average experience of our teachers is 16.48 years.
  • The percentage of our teachers with advanced degrees is 81%.
  • 17.6 certified teaching units are funded locally. The remainder are funded with state or federal funds.
  • District enrollment is up from 2,784 for FY20 to 2,843 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 $33.2 million)

  • State $17.9 million
  • Local $13.1 million
  • Federal $2.2 million (increase due to projected fund balance for the CARES funds and budgets for the SLSP program)

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.

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 facility ($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 are 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
  • Accountability Reports are updated annually and published each December