In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we’ll take a look at the agenda for the December 17th quarterly session of the Hamilton County School Board Meeting. The meeting will be held in the Hamilton County School Board Meeting Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road and is set to begin at 5:30 PM. We will be there live tweeting. Follow along on Twitter: @UnifiEdHC, #HCSchools.

Hot Topics:

  • Donation Acceptance Requests: The Hamilton County Commission is requesting the approval of discretionary bond fund donations for the purchase of tech lab equipment for Harrison Elementary ($4,000), the purchase of an audio and speaker system for the Brainerd High School gymnasium ($7,200), and $100,000 going towards the completion of restroom facilities and concession area for the athletic complex at East Hamilton Middle High School. There has been some debate between School Board members and County Commissioners on appropriate spending of discretionary funds, especially with so many of our schools in need of facility updates and repairs.
  • Board Policy 5.702: Student Teachers: This policy establishes prerequisites for student teachers. The previous policy allowed for the principal and host teacher to approve student teacher placement in their classroom. The new policy allows only the principal to make the approval. The previous policy required the host teacher to either be tenure or have five years of experience. The new policy allows host teachers to have only three or more years of experience.
  • Coalition of Large Area School Systems (CLASS): Request of approval to continue Hamilton Countys membership in the Coalition of Large Area School Systems (CLASS) group and approval to pay membership dues of $37,500 to cover the professional services of Millsaps Gowan Government Relations. CLASS is a lobbying organization working on behalf of the largest school systems in TN.  
  • Opt-Out Movement: Heather DeGaetano will be speaking on the growing opt-out movement where parents are choosing to opt their children out of standardized testing mandated by the state. Heather is a Normal Park parent and has helped raise awareness throughout Hamilton County on why extensive testing is not the best option for grade school children.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click HERE.

On the consent agenda for Thursday’s meeting, the board is scheduled to approve:

Education and Leadership Support

Field Trips

  • East Hamilton School will participate in a Career and Technical development related field trip.
  • Big Ridge Elementary, Lakeside Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary, and Thrasher Elementary will participate in education related field trips.
  • Central High School, East Ridge High School, Hixson High School, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, and Soddy Daisy High School will participate in sports related field trips.
  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga school for the Liberal Arts, East Hamilton School, Hixson High School, and Loftis Middle School will participate in arts and culture related field trips.
  • Chattanooga Schools for the Arts and Sciences, East Hamilton School, Hixson High School, and Red Bank High School will participate in band related field trips.
  • Hixson High School will participate in a JROTC related field trip.
  • Hixson High School will participate in a club related field trip.

Business and Finance

Bids

  • Request by the School Nutrition Department for the replacement of its sole refrigerated truck  (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for $101,067.00).
  • Request of approval for the purchase of toilet partitions for Hixson Elementary from Shiffler Equipment Sales (funding source: Capital Projects Fund for $22,088.89).
  • Request by the School Nutrition Department for the replacement of five vans (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for $100,769.92).
  • Request by the Exceptional Education Department for the purchase of assessment materials needed to test students with disabilities (funding source: Hamilton County Department of Education for $15, 545.20).
  • Recommendation of approval for contract with LifeTouch Photography for exclusive rights to all school photography (funding source: Hamilton county Department of Education for $182,500).
  • Request for approval for an addendum to the existing Stellar Contract with the School Nurses to include billing for students who have TennCare and an Individualized Health Plan.
  • Request for approval to furnish and install the serving line at Ooltewah Middle School (funding source: School Nutrition Budget for $35,369.00).

Financial Reports

  • The monthly financial statement compares actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget and the year-to-date amended budget through December 19, 2015.

Donation Acceptance Requests

  • The Hamilton County Commission is requesting the approval of discretionary bond fund donations for the purchase of tech lab equipment for Harrison Elementary ($4,000), the purchase of an audio and speaker system for the Brainerd High School gymnasium ($7,200), and $100,000 going towards the completion of restroom facility and concession area for the athletic complex at East Hamilton Middle High School. There has been some debate between School Board members and County Commissioners on appropriate spending of discretionary funds, especially with so many of our schools in need of facility updates and repairs.

Grant Award Acceptance

  • Alpine Crest Elementary School has been awarded a $15,809 grant from the City of Red Bank for student devices and charging carts.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School has been awarded $100,000 as a winner in the Celebrate Your Drive Video Contest.

Budget Amendments

  • Federal and Self- Funded: Request for approval to appropriate funds to purchase a data backup system for technology disaster recovery. This amendment appropriates funds from the Unassigned Fund Balance in the amount of $157,765 to purchase equipment ($51,649) and hardware/software ($106,116).

Campus Support

  • First and Final Reading: Revised Board Policy 2.806: Bids and Quotations: All purchases of supplies, materials, equipment, and contractual services in excess of ten thousand dollars, including those of individual schools, shall be based on competitive bids.
  • Request for the approval of donations from Commissioner Discretionary bond funds for reimbursement of $4,000 in tech lab equipment purchases for Harrison Elementary, purchase of $7,200 audio and speaker system for Brainerd High School gymnasium, and reimbursement of $100,000 funds towards the completion of restroom facility and concession area for the athletic complex at East Hamilton Middle High School.

Administrative/ Business Matters

  • First Reading: Board Policy 5.702: Student Teachers: This policy establishes prerequisites for student teachers. The previous policy allowed for the principal and host teacher to approve student teacher placement in their classroom. The new policy allows only the principal to make the approval. The previous policy required the host teacher to either be tenure or have five years of experience. The new policy allows host teachers to have only three or more years of experience.
  • Nolan Elementary: Request for approval for the construction of a new addition at Nolan Elementary School for $4,500,000.
  • Teacher Tenure: Request that tenure be awarded to a list of teachers who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period and met the evaluation score requirements in accordance with TCA: 49-5-503.

Board Matters

  • Parents of a Hamilton County Students have requested the Hamilton County Board of Education to review their childs zero tolerance suspension appeal decision.
  • Request of approval to continue Hamilton Countys membership in the Coalition of Large Area School Systems (CLASS) group and approval to pay membership dues of $37,500 to cover the professional services of Millsaps Gowan Government Relations. CLASS is a lobbying organization working on behalf of public school districts currently suing the state for additional funding.

Events/ Announcements

  • December 18, 2015- Teacher Professional Development (no students)
  • December 20, 2015 January 1, 2016 – Winter Break (schools closed)
  • January 6, 2016- School Reopens
  • January 4 and 5, 2016- Teacher Professional Development (no students)
  • January 6, 2016 School Reopens
  • January 14, 2016 Board of Education Work Session Board Room, 5:00 PM
  • January 21, 2015 Board of Education Regular Session Board Room, 5:00 PM