School Board Recap: January 2017

Before the regularly scheduled school board meeting, the Finance Committee met to discuss different busing options available for Hamilton County in an effort to move forward with a new transportation plan. Christie Jordan, Assistant Superintendent for Finance, gave a presentation of the possible costs associated with moving to an in-house transportation system. According to Jordan’s estimates, if HCDE took over transportation in-house, it could save the district up to 1.9 million dollars a year in transportation costs; however, there would be initial start up costs of about 10 million dollars to purchase used buses for the school system. The other options discussed were to work with current independent bus owners and operators in the county or enter into a contract with another large service provider like Durham.  

The regular session began with recognitions for incredible gifted staff in Special Education. Karen Glenn then gave a report on bullying from the fall school semester. There were 122 confirmed cases of bullying and 122 safely plans provided. Glenn went on to describe some incredible anti-bullying initiatives now taking place including 311 middle school and 286 high school students engaged in school climate leadership trainings. A career and technology update was given to the board sharing student success stories from the partnership with Volkswagen, Mechatronics Academy and the upcoming program Polytechnic Academy.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly, gave an update on iZone schools and highlighted ways in which the school system plans to further support these schools as outlined in the district’s strategic plan. Dr. Kelly and Jill Levine discussed many programs that are currently underway to better support our most vulnerable populations including: earlier recruitment efforts for high needs schools, mentorship programs for new teachers, innovative literacy programs, increased numbers of guidance counselors and behavior specialists, engaging summer school options, and grants for teachers who want to integrate hands on science and art curriculum in the classroom. Dr. Kelly will continue to update the board on iZone strategies at their strategic planning session this weekend.

In the delegation portion of the meeting, Dan Liner asked the board to write a resolution, joining Knox County and Oak Ridge City schools, to publicly state opposition for vouchers, citing that they were a diversion of funding for public education, not adequately oversighted, and allowed for public tax dollars to support a private entity. Kirsten Johnson then spoke on behalf of Harrison Elementary and their need for a new building. She urged the board members to tour the school and prioritize a new building after students and staff became dizzy and ill while working in conditions with high carbon monoxide levels due to inadequate CO2 detectors. Last, Michael Walton spoke to the board, inviting them to a Greenspaces event, focused on reducing utility costs through sustainable energy.

The consent agenda was unanimously approved. Notably, the board approved an agenda item to extend the ABM custodial contract only by 11 months, which will give the board and ABM time to make needed changes and come back with a proposal including increased pay for their employees and adequate supplies necessary to effectively carry out their job. The County Commission Bond Donation of $500,000 to replace Central High School’s track has been postponed pending discussion on county wide facility needs. The agreement for the East Ridge athletic fields contract has also been postponed until discussions can occur between the city and state regarding grant funding. Finally, the board ended the meeting with a continued discussion about transportation and busing. They will call a special session on Saturday, January 21, at 12pm to discuss bus routes, issues concerning independent owners and operators, and take a vote on an RFP for a bus service.


School Board Watch Blog: January 2017

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the January 19th 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:

  • 1st Semester Bullying Report: Dr. McDade and Karen Glenn will give a presentation on the Hamilton County bullying report for last semester. This report details how many confirmed cases of bullying were found and resulting disciplinary actions. In addition, they will go over goals to decrease bullying including targeting leadership trainings and bullying prevention efforts.
  • iZone Update: Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly will give an iZone update. Beginning last year, HCDE created a Strategic Plan draft for the 2017 year. This plan had a detailed focus on better supporting iZone schools.

Field Trips

  • Hixson High School will send students to the TN Future Farmers of America State Convention.
  • Red Bank High School will have students compete in the Student Television Network Convention.
  • East Hamilton Middle High School and Ooltewah High School will send students to participate in the Special Olympics Winter Games.
  • Central High School and Soddy Daisy High School will participate in sports field trips.
  • Loftis Middle School will send students to Washington, D.C. for hands on learning of content related material.
  • Ooltewah High School, Soddy Daisy High School, and Red Bank High School will participate in music field trips.
  • Ooltewah High School will participate in a dance field trip.
  • Red Bank High School will send JROTC students to compete in the 7th BDE Academic/Rifle/Drill Championships.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will send the robotics team to compete in the High School Robotics Team Regional Competition.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will send the environmental club to compete in the NOSB Team Competition.


  • Approval sought for the venders BRESCO, Strategic Equipment LLC, and MSA Digital to purchase equipment for the School Nutrition Program including cooking equipment, a freezer, and a copier printer.
  • Approval sought for the demolition of the Old East Lake Elementary School by Complete Demolition Services, LLC totaling $262,000.00 from the Capital Budget.
  • Approval to purchase new plumbing materials for Lakeside Academy from Wholesale Supply Group Inc. totalling $12,167.80 from the Capital Budget.
  • Attorney Scott Bennett and the Title IX legal consultant, Courtney Bullard, have recommended that all faculty and staff participate in required professional Title IX training. HCDE has obtained three quotes.  Partnership is not the least expensive; however, they best fit our needs and expectations for Title IX training. The on-line training will cost $37,500 for 6,250 employees and the funds will come from Human Resources.
  • The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was recently awarded a federal COPS grant which allowed the funding for the placement of officers in local schools. As a condition of that grant, the Sheriff’s Office must have a MOU in place which will cover the entire grant period requiring an amendment to the original agreement between the Board of Education and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • Recognitions will be made to several gifted teachers for their recent awards and accomplishments: Lindsey Glass, winner of the Jo Patterson Distinguished Service Award, Kelly Davis, winner of the Teacher of the Year Award, Lauren Lindsey, winner of the Horizon Award, Ty Campbell, teacher conference presenter in the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), Lorri Whitney, co-president of Tennessee Association for the Gifted (TAG), and Tara Strang, co-President of Tennessee Association for the Gifted (TAG) and presenter at the National Association for the Gifted (NAGC).
  • David Cowan will be giving an update the Volkswagen Mechatronics Akademie and Chattanooga Polytechnic Academy. Volkswagen America has allocated funds to establish a scholarship fund to support students in the Mechatronics Academy. The funds will be distributed through the Community Foundation and will be available to support cost not covered through the Dual Enrollment Grant. The Chattanooga Polytechnic Academy continues work group meeting, looking at funding possibilities, developing marketing materials, and discussing staffing.

Business and Finance:

  • The Principal at The Howard School is requesting a total of $4,500.00 from their school based Title I budget to contract with Dr. Shirley Kilgore. The recommended consultant will provide professional development for the following areas: positive behavior intervention, support training with at-risk students, support PBIS and school safety, increase attendance and reduce suspension rate, and increase academic growth as outlined in their school improvement plan.
  • Christie N. Jordan, Assistant Superintendent of Finance, will give a presentation of the monthly financial report comparing actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget through November 2016.

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY2017 are recommended for approval:

  • School Improvement Grant Cohort III for IZONE District, totalling $231,782.
  • School Improvement Grant Cohort III for IZONE Schools, totalling $1,007,532.
  • Focus Schools, totalling $108,461 for school improvement.
  • National Science Foundation Project Inspire, with a net increase of $32,309.
  • Perkins IV Reserve Vocational Self-Funded Program, totaling $24,909.
  • Benwood Foundation Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $50,000.
  • Service Fund Self-Funded Program, totaling $3,000.      

Human Resources:

  • Approval sought for two new positions paid through Federal Programs and both until end-of-year only. These positions are a Dean of Students (Temporary with Benefits) for East Ridge High School and a Graduation Coach (Part-Time / No Benefits) for Howard High School.

Board Matters:

  • Accepted donation made by Commissioner Beck totalling $2,500 to purchase books for Hillcrest Elementary School.
  • The Maclellan Foundation donated a recreational vehicle that had been converted to a mobile computer lab. The iZone Department used this lab for their schools for over a year but no longer uses this vehicle, so they are requesting approval to deed the vehicle to the Bethlehem Center to use in the community.
  • Approval sought for textbook committees to work on selecting curriculum resources. The committees will work over the course of the next three months to to begin the work in January 2017.
  • A request for ratification of early approval to accept $500,000 of bond funds for the Central High School / Brown Middle School track. The County Commission added this to their agenda as well.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • Approval sought for the ABM Custodial Contract 11 month extension. It was discussed at the Finance Committee Meeting on January 11, 2017 to request ABM to extend their contract by 11 months in lieu of 2 years as stipulated in the contract and the ABM has agreed to this extension.
  • The board will review two students’ zero tolerance suspension appeal decision per request of the parents.
  • For the month of December, HCDE paid $23,311.00 in legal fees to Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC.

Important Dates and Events

  • January 30-March 10, 2017: Parent Teacher Conferences
  • February 9th 2017: School Board Agenda Work Session, Board Room, 5:00 pm
  • February 16th, 2017: Regularly Session Board Meeting, Board Room, 5:30 pm