During the November 19th School Board Meeting, board members voted to approve all agenda items. The meeting began with presentations recognizing Principal of the Year, National Merit Semifinalists, Tennessee Association of School Librarians, and Exceptional Education Staff. The School Board also heard from three different community members during delegations from the public.

Kevin Lusk from Chattanooga Hamilton County Medical Society spoke about the importance of making Hamilton County school campuses tobacco-free. The current School Board Policy permits smoking outside on school campuses after school hours but always prohibits smoking in public seating areas including stadiums and bleachers.

Dan Liner from Hamilton County Education Association spoke about teacher working conditions in the schools. Sherry Baierl from the Nurse Education Committee spoke about the importance of having AEDs in all public schools in cases of cardiac arrest.

School Board member Rhonda Thurman pulled two items for discussion from the agenda; the donation acceptance request from County Commission and the 2016-17 school calendar. School Board members discussed the new policy requiring County Commissioners to gain approval from the School Board for any discretionary spending coming from last year’s bond funds. Thurman also discussed the possibility of altering the agreed upon school calendar for next year. Ultimately, the School Board voted 8:1 to approve the calendar. Additionally, the Board voted unanimously to approve the renaming of the new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary School to “Middle Valley Elementary School”.

During closing discussion, School Board members recognized the increasing number of parents contacting the district to opt-out their children from standardized testing. The Department of Education’s attorney explained that the School Board did not have the authority to waive testing for students. State law requires school districts to have at least 95% of students taking standardized tests to assess the quality of education for its public schools. In response, School Board member Karitsa Mosley asserted the Board did have the ability to waive TNReady scores from impacting student overall grades on their report cards.

For more information about the November agenda read our School Board Watch Blog. The School Board has a Work Session scheduled for Thursday, December 10 at 5:00pm and a regularly scheduled quarterly session on Thursday, December 17 at 5:00pm. Both meetings will be held at the Department of Education.