School Board Recap: August 18, 2016

The meeting began with Dan Liner from the Hamilton County Educators Association responding to the Times Free Press article released on Sunday about the number of effective teachers in the county. He urged the community to celebrate that the majority of Hamilton County teachers (71.71%) are effective in the classroom rather than focusing solely on the teachers who did not receive an effective score (29%).

Jim Watson approached the board about a program called “Paws to Read” which will allow elementary aged children to read to the animals at  McKamey Animal Center to improve literacy outcomes. He plans to send a detailed report to the board outlining the cost and intended effectiveness of the program.

Linda Sullivan, a past educator at The Howard School, approached the board about issues concerning English Language Learners at Howard as well as the fact that the racial representation of teachers at Howard does not reflect their student body. She called for the school board to increase the number of black teachers so students have teachers they can relate to in the classroom.

All of the items from the consent agenda were approved by the board. The board discussed in detail why they were hiring a new Communications Coordinator who will coordinate meetings with the media and hopefully improve communication between the school system and the community. Thurman, Martin, and Highlander all voted against budgeting for the position. Ultimately, the board voted to approve the new position.

The board also voted to approve a new policy regarding the selection of a chairman/vice chairman. The new policy will allow for longest serving member of the board to be the acting chairman in the absence of the chairman and vice chairman. Rhonda Thurman will be the temporary chairman until the board officially votes on the new chair and vice chair of the board during the specially called session on September 13th. The board will also interview the three superintendent search firms during this meeting.

To conclude the meeting, George Ricks proposed a resolution to request funding from the County Commission and partners to build a new stadium and track for The Howard School. The board voted to approve the resolution with only Thurman voting against.

School Board Watch Blog: August 18, 2016

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the August 18th 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:

  • Board Policy 5.205 – Retirement: The Board will pay a bonus of $20 per unused sick leave accrued by a teacher at the time of his or her retirement. If the teacher submits their notice on or before February 1 and completes the remainder of their contract, the bonus will be $40 (the bonus was only $30 in the previous policy).
  • Board Policy 6.201 – Compulsory Attendance Ages: The compulsory attendance policy has been revised to clarify provisions regarding compulsory attendance ages.
  • Board Policy 6.309 – Zero Tolerance Offenses: The zero tolerance policy now includes a provision that if a student is under the influence of any drug including any controlled substance or legend drug, he or she shall be expelled for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year. The director of schools shall have the authority to modify this expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.

Bids:

  • Approval sought from HCDE to participate in National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance.
  • Approval sought from HCDE to expend $32,700 to purchase Rosetta Stone language learning software.
  • Approval sought from HCDE for Powerschool access and training services totalling $211,994.00.
  • Emergency approval sought from HCDE to increase funds for Smart Find Express to find substitute teachers totalling $31,713.00.
  • Emergency approval sought from HCDE for Public Consulting Group services totalling $10,631.67.
  • Recommended Award of Bid to Contract Paper Group for dual purpose paper totalling $75,062.40.
  • Recommended Award of Bid to Affordable Fence for fencing needs.
  • Recommended Award of Bid to Sweetwater Valley Oil Company for fuel purchases totalling $26,064.00.

Conferences and Consultants:

  • Approval sought for self-funded Bible in the Schools program which provides seventeen Bible History teachers.
  • Approval sought for instructional consultant for the Bright School totaling $6,939.00 (funding source: Title II).
  • Approval sought for contract with Sunistanai Educational Consulting to implement teacher residency program totaling $20,250.000 (funding source: NSF Project Inspire Residency Grant).
  • Approval sought for contract with Teachers Development Group to provide professional development for three residency schools totaling $78,750 (funding source: NSF Project Inspire Residency Grant).
  • Approval sought for contract with Dr. Beverly Tyner for iZone curriculum development totaling $34,200.00 (funding source: iZone/School Improvement Grants).

Monthly Financial Report

  • The monthly financial report is not available due to year-end closing, but will become publicly available after completion.

Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs

  • HCDE received community donations totaling $952.00 for supplies and other materials.
  • HCDE received funds totaling $13,086.00 from maintenance recyclables for supplies and other materials.
  • HCDE received funds totaling $7,460 from the Flower Fund.

Appropriation of Unassigned Fund Balance

  • $2,135,000 of unassigned fund balance will be reassigned to the current HCDE telephone system from analog lines to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for all schools at a cost of approximately $2,000,000 and repair the foundation at Westview Elementary at a cost of $135,000.

Grant Application Requests

  • Interdisciplinary CubeSat Research and STEM Education Platform at the University of Chattanooga (Funded by NSF for $354,045)
  • REU Site: Interdisciplinary CubeSat Research and STEM Education Platform (Funded by NSF for $360,551)
  • Building Strong Brains: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Initiative (Funded by State of Tennessee Dept. of Children’s Services for $141.194)
  • Introduction to Sustainability: Using a Zero+ Energy Building as a Living Lab for Students (Funded by NSF for $1,049,235)

Request for New Positions

  • The Bible in the Schools organization is now in a position to expand the Bible History program by adding a teacher for Soddy Daisy High School. This position (salary and benefits) will be fully-funded by Bible in the Schools.
  • The Benwood Foundation will fully-fund (salary and benefits) an educational assistant for the Forest Kindergarten class at Red Bank Elementary School.

Commissioner Donations

  • Commissioners Tim Boyd and Greg Beck donated $2,500 each, totalling $5,000, as a reimbursement for the building of a playground at Barger Elementary.

First Reading of Board Policies:

  • Board Policy 5.205 – Retirement: The Board will pay a bonus of $20 per unused sick leave accrued by a teacher at the time of his or her retirement. If the teacher submits their notice on or before February 1 and completes the remainder of their contract, the bonus will be $40 (the bonus was only $30 in the previous policy).
  • Board Policy 6.201 – Compulsory Attendance Ages: The compulsory attendance policy has been revised to clarify provisions regarding compulsory attendance ages.  
  • Board Policy 6.309 – Zero Tolerance Offenses: The zero tolerance policy now includes a provision that if a student unlawfully possesses or is under the influence of any drug including any controlled substance or legend drug, he or she shall be expelled for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year.