School Board Recap: July 2016

The school board meeting began with Dan Liner, president of the HCEA teachers union, announcing his excitement “about this meeting more than any other board meeting” because the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was finally going to a vote. The MOU was created by a committee of 13 individuals who represent the best interest of management, employees, students, and teachers.

The MOU was later ratified with an almost unanimous approval, with the exception of Dr. Greg Martin. Dr. Martin expressed concern over Insurance Section 9 which pays 60% of health insurance for 55 year old retirees who have worked for ten years at HCDE and 100% of the health insurance for teachers that have spent 30 years in the system. Dr. Martin stated “I just have a real problem with that aspect, because any other company, such as Volkswagen, would not give you insurance after only working for ten years.”

Highlights of the MOU include teacher’s individualized planning time, stipends (pending available funding) to teachers attending professional development, a 2% increase in teachers salary, a $250 teacher bonus around Thanksgiving, and a new Fringe Benefits section that gives teachers $20 per unused sick day to attract and retain teachers upon retirement if they announce their intention to retire by February 1 of the school year.

The Ooltewah girls soccer team then pleaded the board to find the funds for a girls soccer field. Ten years ago parents threatened a Title 9 lawsuit for not providing the girls team with a soccer field, whilst all the boys teams had one. The girls team now practices in the baseball field, and one community member voiced he felt that the team was “slowly becoming the black sheep of the community.” The soccer team is now being forced to reschedule three of their home games because of the painting schedule of the field they play on. The Lady Owls closed their request stating “we are only asking for equal opportunity.”  

The board went on to unanimously approve the minutes of the Special Called Session on April 14th, 2016 and on the Consent Agenda.

The July 21st session closed with the board voting on three superintendent search firms to interview within the next two weeks. The search firm finalists are Coleman Lew and Associates (6 votes), McPherson Jacobson L.L.C. (6 votes), and TSBA (4 votes).

School Board Watch Blog: July 2016

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the July 21st regularly scheduled 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 live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HCDE and HCEA is set to be approved. The MOU outlines an agreement on educator’s working conditions, salary, payroll deductions, sick leave, insurance, grievances, fringe benefits, and overall basic provisions. Highlights include a choice of three different health insurance plans educators can choose from to fit the needs of themselves and their families. To view the MOU in its entirety click here.
  • The School Board will narrow down search firms for the hiring of the new superintendent. To view all Superintendent Search firm proposals click here.

Overnight Field Trips for the 2016-2017 School Year:

  • Brainerd High School will send four students enrolled in JROTC to attend VenturingFest.
  • Ooltewah High School, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, and East Hamilton will send students on sports related field trips.
  • Sale Creek Middle/High School 7th and 8th graders will travel to Washington DC to learn about our nation’s government.
  • Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts students enrolled in musical theatre will travel to New York, New York to attend master classes with Broadway professionals.


  • Approval sought from HCDE to utilize the services of the attached list of architectural/engineering and design firms on an “as-needed basis” for HCDE projects. These are considered “Professional Services” and as such are not required to be bid or quoted. This list is presented annually to the Board for approval, with updates as necessary.
  • Recommended Award of Bid to Knight Electric’s bid to furnish and install softball field lighting at Central High School totalling $80,835.00 (funding source: Sale of the former Summit Child Development Center).
  • Recommended Award of Bid to Birmingham Restaurant Supply Inc.’s to supply a Walk In Cooler/Freezer at Dupont Elementary and a Walk In cooler at Soddy Daisy Middle totalling $45,159.00 (funding source: School Nutrition Budget).
  • Recommended Award of Bid to Mac Papers Inc. to supply paper supplies at the Print Department totalling $13,458 (funding source: Operating Budget).


  • Approval requested for a contract with Orange Grove Center, Inc. for Facility Based Work services at the Orange Grove Center and the adjoining recycling center for students believed to benefit from this experience. Funds will be disbursed in ten equal installments and will not exceed $30,000 for up to 10 students (funding source: Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds).
  • Approval requested for an agreement with Stellar Therapy for the provision of speech and language services to Private and Homeschool Students. Funds will not exceed $298,836 (funding source: IDEA Part B Grant and IDEA Preschool Grant).
  • Approval requested to fund two additional School Resource Officers and Orchard Knob and Hixson Middle Schools totalling $118,057.90 (funding source: pending).
  • Approval requested to purchase a contract for MyPath Math and Reading Site for Existing Edgenuity Site to support online learning programs in Hamilton County Schools totalling $40,000 (funding source: $40,000).
  • Approval requested for payment of International Baccalaureate Annual Fees at Ooltewah High School, Signal Mountain High School, and Signal Mountain Middle School totalling $31,560.00 (funding source: General Purpose Budget).
  • Approval sought to fund Intensified Algebra for Howard High School and East Ridge High School for English Language Learners totalling $32,455.00 (funding source: Immigrant Grant and Title III Grant).
  • Approval sought for the renewal of a contract with Book Systems Inc. to manage the library’s web-based automation system totalling $31,795 (funding source: self-funded program).
  • Approval sought for a two-year contract with Naviance eDocs to submit electronic documents to over 2,000 colleges and universities totalling $32,424.00 (funding source: General Purpose Budget).

Conferences and Consultants:

  • Approval sought for eight HCDE employees from the Information Technology, Human Resources, and Finance Departments to attend the Sun Guard National User Group (SNUG) conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Funds will not exceed $10,000.00 (funding source: General Fund).
  • Approval sought to renew the Medical Consultant Contract. Funds will not exceed $10,000 (funding source: School Health Program General Fund).
  • Approval sought to contract with NCS Pearson, Inc. to facilitate a 3-day Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Institute at the Howard School. The Institute will help educators learn the SIOP Model to teach both content knowledge and academic language skills for English Language Learners totalling $15,000.00 (funding source: Title III Federal Budget).

Monthly Financial Report:

  • Attached is the monthly financial report comparing budget to actual through May 31, 2016.  

Budget Amendments to Federal Grants for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year

  • Title III Immigrant Grant: HCDE was awarded The English Language Acquisition Discretionary Grant totalling $12,067.00.
  • IDEA Discretionary Supplemental: HCDE was awarded funds for staff development and other supplies for special education totalling $19,854.
  • IDEA Discretionary: Soddy Daisy and Hixson High Schools were awarded the Transition Program for Work Based Learning totalling $80,000.
  • Carl Perkins Vocational Grant: HCDE was awarded funding for vocational instruction, student support, and staff support totalling $60,780.

Budget Amendments to Self-Funded Programs for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year

  • Literacy Institute Self-Funded Program: HCDE was awarded funding for the Literacy Institute totalling $4,208.
  • Career and Technical Surplus Self-Funded Program: HCDE was awarded funding for Career and Technical programs totalling $5,255.

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • Volunteer Electric Cooperative Load Reduction Pilot

VEC (Volunteer Electric Cooperative) has asked HCDE to participate in their “Load Reduction Pilot Agreement” at Ooltewah and Snow Hill Elementary Schools. The purpose of the agreement is to commit to energy use reductions in order to receive credits on HCDE’s electrical bill. If HCDE cannot comply, the agreement will be terminated without penalty.

  • Thrasher Athletic Field

The Town of Signal Mountain has requested the use of the athletic field behind Thrasher Elementary to help with the overcrowding of their youth programs. While using the fields, the Town will assume all responsibility for grounds maintenance and mowing. The Town will provide the necessary insurance required and any school events that require use of the field will take priority.