The Opelika City Schools Board of Education outlined its plans for Friday’s high school graduation during the board’s meeting on Tuesday.
Opelika’s graduation will take place Friday in the school’s football stadium. The festivities will occur over six sessions with 50 students and no more than nine family members per student – including children and infants – taking part in each session.
Each graduate will travel with their family together through the high school and will stop on dots marking the appropriate distance from the group in front of and behind them.
Each family will walk through the high school, take a right on the English hall, go down the English hall, exit the media center entrance, cross over the parking lot and enter the visitors’ side gate into Bulldog Stadium.
Each group will follow the dots into the stadium leading up to the stage, which will be positioned on the stadium’s 10-yard line.
Opelika City Schools Superintendent Mark Neighbors and a board member will be on stage as will be Opelika High School Principal Farrell Seymore, who will be reading the graduates’ names.
Once the family reaches the last dot prior to the stage, the graduate will walk to the stage while family members get in position to take pictures.
Once the student has received his or her diploma case and had their picture made, the family will meet them at the gate and exit the stadium.
Students will pick up their actual diploma at the concession stand.
Graduates and families will be encouraged to leave the stadium as quickly as possible to avoid a large gathering. Neighbors added that the Opelika Police Department will be assisting to ensure proper flow of people during each session.
Masks will not be required for graduates or their families, but the volunteers assisting with the ceremony will be wearing them. Neighbors said they also plan to have hand sanitizing stations throughout as well as a tent over the stage to ensure the graduation can proceed rain or shine.
Neighbors added the school system plans to livestream the event.
“I think it’s going to be reverent and appropriate. I think it will work fine,” Neighbors said. “I really think for the kids it’s more special than a normal (graduation). A normal one is probably more prompt and circumstance. This is more about the kids and their families.”
Several of the board members complimented those who have worked on the graduation plans, including Tipi Miller.
“Y’all have done a great job. It seems like the rest of the state is real confused about graduation stuff,” Miller said. “I’m glad y’all are doing it the same date that was planned originally to not mess up any plans that these students have.”
Board member Chris Harrison, who operates as the chief financial officer, provided the system’s April financial statements.
Through seven months of the fiscal year, $31 million of the $46.9 million budgeted general fund revenues and other financing sources have been received — which means the system has received 66.1 percent of the budgeted revenues through 58.3 percent of the fiscal year.
Additionally, $24.4 million in expenditures and other fund uses in the general fund have been disbursed of the $45.5 million budgeted for the year.
“It’s always a good time for me because up until this point we had more expenditures than we have revenues. I keep saying, ‘Trust me. Trust me.’ This time we actually have more revenues than expenditures and we can kind of watch as the year progresses to make sure we are proceeding on target with the budget,” Harrison said. “As far as bills paid and out the door through the seven months to right now, we’re a little lower than what we have budgeted.
“We’ve got room there, so I think we’re in good financial shape. We’ll just have to continue to watch what revenues do.”
The school board also:
Rescinded a paint bid for Opelika Middle School due to the lack of required documentation for the company. The system plans to instead complete the paint project next summer.
Approved a lawn care bid for the school system with Amazing Scapes in the amount of $51,896.60.
Approved a boiler bid for Jeter Primary School with T&D Mechanical, Inc. in the amount of $238,767.00.