School Board Watch Blog – August 2017

August 2017 School Board Meeting Agenda

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the August 17, 2017 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. It will be livestreamed and recorded, and the link will be posted on our blog following the meeting.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • Board Policy 3.202 Emergency Preparedness Plan- Second and Final Reading: Due to changes in state law, it is necessary to revise our current policy on Emergency Preparedness Plan order to correct the fire and intruder drill information. The old policy stated that one fire drill requiring full evacuation shall be given every month during the school year, with an additional fire drill to be conducted within the first fifteen (15) days of operation. The new policy states that an additional fire drill is to be conducted within the first thirty (30) days of operation.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Director of College Career and Technical Education and the Principal at Hixson High School will recognize students earning top honors at the recent HOSA: Future Healthcare Professionals International Leadership Conference with five students placing in the top 10 within their respective competitions. There were over 7,400 competitors in 57 events demonstrating competencies developed through Health Science class instruction, technical training, and HOSA activities.
  • The Director of JROTC will honor the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the JROTC marching competition, during last May’s Annual Armed Forces Parade, by the presentation of plaques provided by the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council (CAVC).
  • Robin Copp, principal of Ooltewah High School, will be recognized for being named the Southeast Region Principal of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education for 2017-2018.
  • A presentation will be given to update the board on curriculum and instruction plans for the 2017-2018 school year. The update will include a summary of summer professional development, shift in standards for ELA/Math, and supports that will be provided during the upcoming school year.

Field Trips:

  • Brown Middle School students will travel to Washington, D.C. to study the foundations of our American government.
  • Chattanooga High, Center for Creative Arts will send students enrolled in musical theatre to New York, NY to attend master classes with Broadway professionals.
  • Red Bank High School will send students to participate in JROTC competitions.
  • Signal Mountain Middle/High School will send members of the volleyball team to compete in the Showdown at the Sunsphere.

Bids:

Board approval is sought for:

  • Printer toner cartridges and drum cartridges for the School Nutrition Program with funds to be provided by the School Nutrition Budget.  
  • The utilization of selected architectural, engineering, and design firms for the 2017-18 school year on an “as-needed basis” for HCDE projects.
  • An extension of the STEM Lease Agreement with Chattanooga State for the 2017-18 school year.
  • Exceptional Education Contract with Momentum Behavior Analysis for 2017-2018 school year to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to students with disabilities. Funds will not exceed $35,000.
  • Agreement with Stellar Therapy for speech and language services for private and homeschool students. The private school proportional services plan is paid for from the IDEA, Part B Grant  and IDEA, Preschool Grant with funds not to exceed $406,518.
  • Contract between HCDE and STARS for school climate personal support, student training, early intervention student support, and the Kindness Matters Campaign totalling $15,400 pending approval of the Safe Schools Grant.
  • Contract renewal with GeniusSIS for the Virtual School Program for students information systems. This will total $100 a month for hosting fees and $3.00 per enrollment with funds coming through the operations of the Hamilton County Virtual School.
  • Purchase Rosetta Stone Language Learning Suite Software to provide course services for ELL students at several campuses and participation in On-Site Professional Development session during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. This will total $89,099 with funds to be provided from the Title III budget.
  • Purchase texts and resources from Staff Development for Educators, Inc and Crystal Springs Books, a division of SDE, Inc for literacy instructional support. This will total $25,000 with funds provided by the General Purpose account and Federal Programs budget.
  • Purchase texts and resources from Pioneer Valley Educational Press, Inc (dba Pioneer Valley Books) for literacy instructional support. This will total $25,000 with funds provided by the General Purpose account and Federal Programs budget.  
  • Ratification of Emergency/Early approval of 2-3 year contract for MyPath Math and Reading License from Edgenuity to support online learning in HCDE schools. This license includes 800 individual seats to be used at any secondary site in Hamilton County Schools. This will total $40,000 per year from the General Purpose budget.

Consultants:

  • Approval is sought to contract with Dr. Maren Halvorson to identify Bible teachers, maintain and enhance the quality and effectiveness of Bible history teachers, and to improve the overall learning experience of the Bible in the Schools Program. Funds are not to exceed $36,000 and will be provided from the self-funded Bible in the Schools Program.

Budget Amendments:

The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY2018 are recommended for board approval:

  • Title III English Language Acquisition Grant, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $40,142
  • IDEA Discretionary Supplemental, totaling $20,229
  • IDEA Discretionary, totaling $80,194
  • Carl Perkins Vocational Grant, with transfers between line items and a net decrease of $63,535

Grants:

  • The Administration is requesting acceptance and approval of a grant application for the UTC – STEM ICE: Inspire, Communicate, Educate project. This project examine efficacy of multiple strategies and activities to encourage different under-represented groups to pursue careers in STEM fields. The amount is for $350,356.

CAFR:

  • The board will receive the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Hamilton County, Tennessee as a matter of records. The audit covers the financial statements for the Hamilton County Department of Education as a discretely presented component unit of Hamilton County.

Human Resources:

  • The Assistant Superintendent is requesting a full-time with benefits STEM-Lab teaching position be added at Soddy Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year.  This position is a temporary position and will be funded through the donation from Earl and  Almeda Frazier. This position is for one year only at this time, and will have no impact on the General Purpose budget.

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • The Director of Exceptional Education is requesting approval for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HCDE, Division of Exceptional Education, and Mental Health Cooperative. The purpose of this MOU is to provide school-based mental health services in Hamilton County schools for students exhibiting significant emotional and behavioral challenges.
  • Approval is sought for an addendum to the lease agreement for the cell tower located at East Ridge High School. The addendum makes a slight adjustment to the footprint of the leased space in order to shift away from an existing drainage ditch and to accommodate the cell carrier’s equipment.
  • Legal Services: For the month of July, a total of $42,680.96 was spent on legal services from Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC, Markel, and Von Kessler & Cox, and Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams.

Events/Announcements:

  • August 21, 2017: Eclipse-Schools Closed
  • August 21, 2017: Community Listening Tour-Clear Creek Church of Christ (District 3) 6:30 pm
  • August 24, 2017: Listening Tour-Apison Baptist Church (District 7) 7:00 pm
  • August 28, 2017: Listening Tour-Brainerd High School (District 5) 6:30 pm
  • August 29, 2017: Listening Tour-Soddy Daisy High (District 1) 6:30 pm
  • September 4, 2017: Labor Day-No School and Central Office Closed
  • September 21, 2017: Board Meeting-Quarterly Session  

 

 

School Board Recap – July 2017

The July 20, 2017 school board work session and regular meeting were recorded – watch the video here.

Work session recap

The July 2017 school board meeting was preceded by a one-hour work session focusing on the TN State Dept. of Education’s proposed partnership district to turn around five iZone schools in Hamilton County. 

Board chairman Dr. Steve Highlander opened the meeting by welcoming Dr. Bryan Johnson, the recently hired superintendent who began work in Hamilton County this week.

Dr. Highlander asked Karitsa Jones to give a recap of two community meetings held on the topic of the proposed partnership district. Candice McQueen from the State Dept. of Education gave a presentation first which gave a timeline of events and what the partnership would look like. There were a lot of comments and questions, including examples in the past where Hamilton County was able to turn schools around on their own. There are other schools that could be coming into the list (up to 16), in addition to the five already on the list. McQueen said she would give HCDE until August to reply to the state’s proposed options for these schools with either a memorandum of understanding or letter of intent. There are two options being presented at this time: partnership district with the state and the fully state-run Achievement School District.

Highlander said that although more board members wanted to be at the meetings, they did not want to attend for fear of coming out of compliance for the Sunshine Law. Tiffanie Robinson and Jones could come because the meetings were within their district.

Robinson said that approximately 25 people attended the two meetings that she attended and that most people left feeling like they better understood what the partnership district would look like. The big concerns were still funding and a 60/40 (state-appoitned/locally-appointed) split in the board. She felt that a lot of community members seemed to be having a more positive understanding of the partnership district.

Highlander asked that Dr. Johnson speak to the partnership. He’s met with McQueen several times to better understand her vision. He also met with the five principals of the current iZone schools today to get their input. He agrees that there are questions he still has about funding and governance. He understands that this is something that the state has been doing a lot of exploration about and been thinking of for several years.

Highlander said that he has had several conversations with McQueen. He said that we do need to be concerned with the validity of recent years’ standardized test results. He said that McQueen reiterated that those schools have been in the bottom 5%, to which he responded that that is true, but the schools have been improving vastly. Additionally, testing for the last two years has been a failure and he has concerns that what the schools are being evaluated against may or may not be valid and accurate.

Joe Wingate raised a concern that the McQueen has been pressed several times on funding and the answer continually given is that the funding will be made available at a later time, but there isn’t a guarantee or a plan for that. He also has a concern about addressing other non-academic challenges. It seems that the state is abdicating themselves from other responsibilities implicit in this partnership.

Joe Galloway had questions about the governance (60/40). HCDE has been seen as not getting the job done, but there isn’t evidence that the state has been getting the job done either for other schools through its Achievement School District. He feels that it should be an equal amount for governance.

David Testerman’s main concern was that the partnership option is currently against state law. He feels we should be looking at tools that are already lawful. He said the state needs to be a real partner operating under legal measures. If they want to be a real partner, they should come in and partner with us to work with one school and prove they have what it takes to make the change, rather than taking over all iZone schools. He then indicated support for charter schools.

Robinson said that we need to be very honest with ourselves. Whatever decision made will cause 2,300 students to either win or lose. She believes that this is an attempt within this proposal of the state to partner with us and not taking over the schools. She does still have questions, but it shows that they’re trying to partner with us. There is a socioeconomic component that is addressed within this plan, including community schools. She has been talking about community school for a year, as Jones had been for years. Robinson feels charter schools are not the answer. Principal autonomy is another component of interest to her in the state’s proposal. Robinson said she was not sure if they are able (legally) to refuse either of the options presented by the state or ask for a delay on making the decision.

Attorney-sitting (not board attorney Scott Bennett) seemed to feel that the state would intend for us to stay with the timeline provided. Robinson pressed to clarify whether or not the school board can legally request a stay so that the board can talk about the real options available. The attorney said that she did not think they could request to delay.

Jones said that according to the meeting held with Representative JoAnne Favors, there were steps outlined which would preclude us being able to request a delay. She referenced the code annotated which talks about Achievement School District.

Rhonda Thurman clarified that the code annotated was specific to the Achievement School District, but did not include a partnership district. Additionally, she is concerned about the legality of a school board that is not elected by the community. She also raised concern that McQueen may not be a commissioner after the next 1.5 years.

Thurman says she is tired of our students being used as guinea pigs. She specifically raised LeFrederick Thurkill as an example of a great educator who is of the community and knows what is best in the community. She said students need stability and that educators need to understand what type of baggage these students are coming to school with. 

Jones said the rhetoric is getting old. We keep saying what we can do, but these schools have been on the list since 2002. She reiterates Robinson saying that we need to be honest and start doing right by these kids. She agreed with Thurman that stability and continuity of support is key. We can’t better the community’s they live in because we’re not city council or county commission. We can’t stop gentrification or urban renewal. This is where we need to be advocating to the government bodies about what they can do.

Jones is against the Achievement School District option, saying it has not worked in other communities. She still has questions about the partnership. McQueen made it clear that one of the state’s presented options must be taken. Jones said she would like to say no to the state’s options, but if they cannot say no, they need to come up with a plan. 

Lennon agrees that we need stability and autonomy, but we need to do something different for our kids. She is against theAchievement School District option, but still has questions about the partnership. She said she doesn’t trust the state and pointed out they had not gotten most recent test scores. She also is concerned about the legality of the partnership option. She said she doesn’t want these schools to be a guinea pig and reiterated McQueen does only have 1.5 years left in her office. She doesn’t like the 60/40 board governance and feels like the current schools board members representing those districts should be a part of any partnership district board.

Galloway wanted to clarify that there would not be a replacement of principals with the partnership.

Dr. Johnson said that the commissioner has given them until the end of August to make a decision. He would like to work with the leadership, principals, and community to develop a plan for how we can move forward and then see how the two plans overlap. He wants to identify what the non-negotiables are. He wants to know what is the district’s plan to move the five schools forward, as well as the other 11 schools that are on the cusp. He said they must have community and teacher voice in that plan.

Highlander’s fear with the 60/40 board governance is that mid-way through the partnership district tenure (5 years), that board might not be a strong proponent of public education, and they may decide to turn the partnership schools into for-profit charters.

Robinson asked when they would receive standardized test scores. Highlander spoke with McQueen today and she said they’re not ready yet and are still being compiled. She also encouraged all of the school board members to reach out to and speak with the principals of the five iZone schools to hear their thoughts. Jones said that community members want to see the rest of the board because the community members feel like the board doesn’t care about them.

Dr. Johnson said he has been impressed with the principals and their commitment, passion and insight into each of the schools. He believes there is a lot of overlap between what the schools want and what the state wants, but they want to be sure that the community is consulted and heard.

Regular Session (5:30 PM) 

Callie Stuart, assistant principal from Apison Elementary, led the pledge and meditation.

Recognition and Presentations:

  1. CLASS – Dr. Lee McDade 
    1. Robert Galwin and Elizabeth Milshaps from CLASS took over. Includes the big four school systems in TN. Contract requires that they make a report with each legislative session. There were 47 K-12 bills that were passed and over 100 that were introduced but did not pass and may still be pending for 2018.
      1. For the third year in a row, at least $200 million (this year, almost a quarter million) in new money for K-12, including $100 million for teacher salary and increased BEP funding. HCS additional funding it $5023000, total HCS 2017/2018 BEP allocation is $154,465,000. 22.2 million to serve ELL students.
      2. Legislation filed but not passed that would have required teacher salary in TN be used as the BEP salary component. It would have required the state to provide a minimum level of BEP funding for all districts. Also, $500 would be required to be given to first-year teachers for classroom supplies. No additional BEP funding would have been provided for that increase ($250).
      3. Vouchers were approved in both House and Senate but deferred in funding committees.
      4. Statewide voucher program or Empowerment Scholarship Program was introduced but did not pass.
      5. Legislation was filed but did not pass that would have required students’ rising grades be reported to the Achievement School District.
      6. Charter schools – they feel that SB1197/HB310 did some really good work. 3% of student population would mean that the minimum amount of administrative costs paid by HCDE would be $140,000. There is also an immediate revocation of charter status for schools put on the priority list. Establishes a grant program for facilities. A new application fee will be up to $2500 – previous fee was up to $500.
      7. ESSA – Limits Achievement School District takeover of a school to ten years. Also changes priority schools to include high schools failing to graduate 1/3 or more of their students and schools with chronically low-performing subgroups. Revises current intervention to provide for turnover through an LEA-led intervention. Prohibits ASD from adding grades unless approved by LEA.
      8. Assessments/TN Ready – legislation introduced but did not pass. Allowed school districts to use ACT rather than TN Ready scores. 
      9. School bus safety – establishes a school transportation supervisor to oversee complaints/concerns. Requires driver to be 25 years old with at least 5 years unrestricted license. Also additional training time for drivers. Introduced but did not pass – seatbelts and cameras on school buses, allowed law enforcement to inspect portable electronic devises at the scene of a crash.
      10. Pre-K – would have created a Pre-K program to allow districts to use pre-K dollars for programs other than those currently required under current pre-k law. Introduced but did not pass.
      11. Transsexual Restrooms – Will continue to advocate on HCDE’s behalf and believes the principal knows the student and will continue to advocate that the district has the abilities to make decisions on this matter at the local level.
      12. Administrative Hearings for LEA – would require an admin hearing prior to the Commissioner of Education to be able to withhold funds from an LEA. Introduced but not passed. Will be discussed again in 2018.
  1. Year-End Bullying Compliance Report – Karen Glenn
    1. Powerpoint report/presentation was shared.
    2. Information is collected from every school and will be submitted to state
    3. Incidents have been significantly reduced. Attributed to extensive training, both professional development and student development (1072 students took it this year). This is more of a “train-the-trainer” model where students are encouraged to create an action plan.
    4. Would like to improve community forums and parent engagement.
    5. Robinson asked if there was anything the board could do to support their efforts. Mrs. Glenn said currently the students work to develop an action plan for upcoming students and follow up with them.

Delegations:

  1. Dan Liner, HCEA
    1. Appreciates the challenge currently being faced by the school board. Many other districts have faced similar problems and turned towards partnership. Not a partnership district, but partnership with: universities, churches, civic orgs, United Way, etc. Schools in Minneapolis have turned towards partnership. He said this is, in reality, community schools. There is a plethora of data that shows that community schools work. Not only academic improvements, attendance, etc. He commended the board for their support of the first community school and advocated for a community school director.
    2. He says community schools should be at the center of the community: open all day, open to everyone in the community – even the homeless – and it presents great results. It brings together academics, health, social services and leads to these three results: Improved learning, Stronger Families, Addresses socioeconomic issues
  2. Ezra Harris, Woodmore Community
    1. Referenced bus tragedy and wants to show appreciation to Mrs. Jones for showing her support and caring. Presented her with a tshirt and wanted to be sure that she knows how much they love her. Mr. Highlander wanted to note that Mr. Eaves has appointed a few new bus drivers and the one assigned to the route of the accident is going to each home to introduce himself to the families.  
  3. Representative JoAnne Favors
    1. We are all here because of our desire to provide an optimal education for our students. She has been active in the newly formed Chattanooga Hamilton County Public School Coalition which has been heavily researching the proposal from Dr. McQueen. Originally they requested a one year moratorium on moving forward. However, she said to disregard based off of the decision made in the 4:30 meeting and commended them for that decision (to try to create a community written plan). It is obvious that opposition to charter schools is on the rise. The group asked that the board request the following information:
      1. The attorney general be consulted to see what the legality of this option.
      2. Wants to know how much additional Race to the Top funding that was given to other schools in Hamilton County.
      3. School board can legally explore the opportunity to build another alternative (said she would provide the code to the board which shows that).
      4. She said the ASD option is not a good option because it is dysfunctional.
  4. Crier Bacon with D9 Education Association
    1. Wants to share with Dr. Johnson about the things that D9 has accomplished since its formation 3 years ago. D9 has expanded from elementary to now working in middle and high schools and is working to elevate community voice.

Approval of Consent Agenda:

No items to pull. Thurman would like to explain to the public the decision around Dr. Kelley. Dr. Highlander said that when we agreed to have Dr. Kelly as the interim it was on a month-to-month basis. During the transition, there was still someone needing to sign the paperwork, etc. He basically changed position but was required to stay on payroll through the end of July per the month-to month. After that he will be retired and further employment will be between him and Dr. Johnson.

  1. Executive Committee Report
  2. School Operations
    1. Field Trips
  3. Business and Finance
  4. Campus Support
  5. Human Resources

Administrative/Business Matters

  1. Board Policy 3.202 ER Preparedness
  2. Revised Bus Driver Contracts
    1. Dr. Highlander asked what the financial increase would be – a little over $50,000 annual.
    2. Mrs. Lennon asked to clarify that this basically gives the driver a raise. She thought the finances were already decided in the contract. Mr. McDade said yes, so it brings them into comparative salary with employees.
    3. Mrs. Jones said she also struggled for this additional raise. Although she recognizes the importance of bus drivers, but there are folks in the schools and ways in the schools that that $50,000 could be utilized.
    4. Mrs. Thurman said that by equalizing the pay we made the contract more palatable to drivers. She said the drivers didn’t think it was fair that the pay was not equal prior to this increase.
    5. Mrs. Lennon said that owner/operators have been doing this a lot longer and that an increase at this level for independent bus drivers isn’t keeping in line with the way the district does business. We don’t pay first-year teachers the same as veteran teachers.
    6. Mrs. Thurman wanted to clarify that some independent drivers have been driving for a very long time – even longer. Additionally “this board has been very generous in giving teachers raises in the past several years”.
    7. Mr. Wingate said that we weren’t even able to fill the 20 spots that opened up, so it must not be a very lucrative business. What we’re doing is trying to provide a fair employment opportunity.
    8. Roll call – Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Lennon vote no, Mr. Smith absent. Motion carries.

 

Events/Announcements

  1. Clarification of next meeting to discuss community plan/partnership zone. Dr. Johnson will be meeting with community and will keep board updated. Next scheduled meeting is August 17 but may have a work session prior to that if Dr. Johnson thinks it is necessary.
  2. Orchard Knob Middle School had several community groups come in to help with a face lift. Mrs. Robinson wanted to say thank you to the community.
  3. Sale Creek’s new addition will be opening soon.

July 2017 school board meeting attendees: All board members except Joe Smith

School Board Watch Blog – July 2017

July 2017 School Board Meeting Agenda

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the July 20 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 3.202 Emergency Preparedness Plan- First Reading: Due to changes in state law, it is necessary to revise our current policy on Emergency Preparedness Plan order to correct the fire and intruder drill information. The old policy stated that one fire drill requiring full evacuation shall be given every month during the school year, with an additional fire drill to be conducted within the first fifteen (15) days of operation. The new policy states that an additional fire drill is to be conducted within the first thirty (30) days of operation.

 

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • Karen Glenn will be presenting the Year End Bullying Compliance Report. 615 incidents were reported for the school year of 2016-2017. 979 staff members participated in Olweus Bullying Prevention/Restorative Practices Professional Development. 1072 students participated in student trainings including Youth Summit, Move2Stand, Youth Conference, and Peer Mediation. There were 157 attendees at community/parent forums including the Hixson Community Forum, Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Latino Faith Leaders TASSW Conference.
  • Board approval is sought for revised contracts for independent contractors and HCDE employees who are independent contractors for the 2017-18 school year.  Scott Bennett has reviewed these contracts.
  • Dr. Lee McDade will be giving a presentation regarding CLASS.

Delegations:

  • Ezra Harris will be speaking on behalf of the Woodmore Community.

Field Trips:

  • Central High School, Ooltewah High School, and Tyner Academy will send students to participate in camps.
  • Thirty-five students enrolled in an AP Program at East Hamilton School will travel to Cocoa Beach, Florida.
  • Forty-two students enrolled in eighth grade at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts will travel to Washington, D.C.
  • Twelve members of the Hixson High School volleyball team will travel to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to compete in the Rocky Top Classic.
  • One student enrolled in tenth grade at STEM School Chattanooga will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend the Civic Action Conference.  

Bids:

Board approval is sought for:

  • Contracts to Furnish Propane Fuel and to Furnish & Install Fencing with funds coming from the Operating/Maintenance and Capital Projects Budgets.
  • Contract Extension for Telecommunication Cabling Infrastructure Installation totaling $885,050.00.
  • Contract for Dish Machine Chemicals, Ware-Washing and Sanitation for the School Nutrition Program totaling 98,639.30 with funds provided by the School Nutrition Budget.
  • Contract for Dr. Adams, Medical Consultant for school year 2017-2018 totaling $10,000 per school year with funds provided by School Health Program Department.
  • The Athletic Trainer Service Agreement with Benchmark Physical Therapy for Hixson High School to provide the services of athletic trainers to Hixson High School. Benchmark will be compensated by the school $300 per month, to be paid on the first of the month beginning August 1, 2017 and continuing until the last payment on May 1, 2018.
  • The Renewal of Book Systems, Inc.-Atrium totaling $31,795 which will be funded through a self-funded program.
  • A three-year subscription Contract with Naviance, Succeed, and E.Docs totaling $44,498.40 per year with funds provided through the GP budget.
  • Purchase Annual License, Maintenance and Support with TRA, Inc. totaling $25,236.
  • Contract with Stellar Therapy for Nursing & School Health Services at rates of $80.00/hour for a Physician’s Assistant and $160.00/hour for a physician.
  • Annual Renewal Fees of International Baccalaureate (IB) at Ooltewah High School ($11,650.00), Signal Mountain High School ($11,147.00), and Signal Mountain Middle School ($9,547.00) totaling $32,344.00 with funds provided by General Purpose Budget.
  • Contract to Furnish Food Supplies to Brainerd High School Bistro Restaurant totaling $24,064.18 with funds provided by Brainerd High School Internal Funds.
  • Ratification of Emergency Early Approval of Maintenance Renewal for SchoolInSites Web Hosting Agreement Legacy Hosting Package-District Site ($1,200/ July, 2017- June, 2018) and Legacy Hosting Package-71 Schools Sites ($63,900/ July, 2017-June, 2018) totaling $65,100 with funds provided by the IT Department.

Human Resources:

  • The following teachers have been recommended for reinstatement of tenure: Vanessa Bell, Abby Bryant, Leanne Chesney, Leigh Grady, Michelle Greene, Martha June Hill, Lauren Lindsey, Amanda Pettit-Shaheen, Eric Smith, and Romonda Walker-Word.
  • The Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources is recommending one employee to serve as a trustee for the Certified Sick Leave Bank and one employee to serve as a trustee for the Classified Sick Leave Bank. These employees will each serve a three-year term and both have a reputation among their peers for professionalism and confidentiality.

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • Board Policy 3.206 Community Use of School Facilities- 2nd and Final Reading: In order to allow school facilities to be used for memorial services, it is necessary to revise the board policy regarding the community use of school facilities. The addition to the current policy states that school facilities may be used for memorial services if approved by the principals. Funeral services are not to be held in school facilities.
  • Legal Services: For the month of June, a total of $30,295.26 was spent on legal services from Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC and Markel, and Von Kessler & Cox.

Events/Announcements:

 

  • August 3-4, 2017 – Administrative In-Service (School-Based)

 

  • August 7, 2017 – Administrative In-Service (School-Based)

 

  • August 7, 2017 – Registration Day for Students (no classes)

 

  • August 8, 2017 – Administrative In-Service (System-Wide)

 

  • August 9, 2017 – Administrative In-Service (System-Wide)

 

  • August 10, 2017 – First Full Day of School

 

School board recap June 2017

The full June 15, 2017 school board meeting was recorded – watch the video here

Working Session

The board met before the regular meeting for a working session to discuss the finalist candidates for the superintendent position. Chairman Highlander announced that candidate Dr. Wayne Johnson had withdrawn his candidacy that day.

Board member Tiffanie Robinson explained that she had lunch with each candidate and got to know them one-on-one and have more in-depth conversations than those who spoke with the candidates in group settings. She complimented the search and selection process and said she was excited about the vote.

Board member Karitsa Jones said she found the process difficult and complicated. She had previously advocated for structure in the process and stated that she felt it didn’t occur. She spoke about a meeting that she and Robinson held in their districts to get constituent feedback on the candidates and relayed that she heard a lot of support for Dr. Bryan Johnson and Dr. Kirk Kelly. She then highlighted that she wants to ensure decisions are made based on the best interests of the district’s children rather than “outside forces.” 

Board member Joe Galloway relayed a devotion regarding diligence, then stated that he believes the board had been diligent in the selection process.

Board member Joe Smith said he is at total peace with the process and argued the board needs to be 100% behind whichever candidate is selected. He said he backs Dr. Kelly because he heard from many teachers and principals that he would be their choice. He added that Dr. Kelly’s biggest obstacle has been lack of sufficient time in the interim position to show definitive results.

Board member Joe Wingate read a Proverb stating that hard work brings a profit. He felt it was relevant because the board had put in hard work during the selection process, and said the board would go to work no matter the outcome of the vote. 

Board member David Testerman observed that the process created a lot of pain, as well as a lot of growth. He believes that the board emerged from the process a different board than they were a few months prior. 

County Mayor Jim Coppinger then thanked the board for performing their due diligence in the process. He stated his confidence that the board would make the right decision. He acknowledged the following elected officials for their presence at the meeting: Commissioner Chester Bankston, Commissioner Randy Fairbanks, Commissioner Sabrina Smedley, Commissioner Warren Mackey, Senator Todd Gardenhire, and Councilman Darrin Ledford.

The board then took a break prior to the regular session.

Regular session

The regular session began with a roll call and the vote to select the permanent superintendent. Dr. Bryan Johnson won with a 5-4 vote.

The board members voted as follows:
Dr. Kirk Kelly votes: Galloway, Lennon, Jones, Testerman 
Dr. Bryan Johnson votes: Highlander, Thurman, Wingate, Robinson, Smith 

A motion was made, seconded, and unanimously approved to confirm the selection of Johnson as superintendent. Discussion regarding contract negotiation followed.

Board attorney Scott Bennett then asked for clarification on what term the board wanted him to pursue in Johnson’s contract negotiation. There is a maximum contract period of four years by law. Thurman requested a two-year contract, or if a four-year contract were pursued, she suggested that it have no buy-out clause. Wingate stated that a  two-year contract does not show a lot of faith in their decision.

Robinson opposed a four-year contract term and made a motion to vote for a three-year term. Testerman stated that Johnson may turn down the offer without a four-year contract and considered it foolish not to offer the maximum term. The board voted down the proposed three-year term, then subsequently unanimously voted in favor of a four-year contract term.

Chairman Highlander reviewed agenda changes, which were unanimously approved.

Greg Bagby, principal at Barger Academy, led a meditation and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Delegations

Dan Linert of the Hamilton County Educators Association thanked the board for their due diligence in selecting Johnson. He spoke on the topic of a memorandum of understanding that was created in collaboration with the board that is funded in the balanced budget sent to the county. He requested that the board approve the memorandum per their agreement to three terms:

  • Increase in teacher salaries of 3 %
  • Bonus in November of $250 per teacher
  • Teachers and educators will be paid $15 / hour for professional development

Michael McAmish spoke on behalf of a group of concerned Signal Mountain residents who live outside town and in unincorporated areas. He stated that the group has been monitoring the viability committee currently investigating breaking away Signal Mountain schools into a separate school district and observed that momentum seems to be building toward validating a break away. Two viability committee members went to Memphis to meet with leaders of school systems that had previously broken away from the county school system there, and McAmish says they have honed the direction of the committee as a result. He expects they will soon prepare a proposal and said it’s possible the issue will go to a vote. He stated that he is part of the opposition to this movement.

He shared a bumper sticker that the opposition group has created and will be distributing that states, “Community is bigger than a mountain. StaywithHCDE.com.” He pointed out that residents who live in unincorporated areas of Signal Mountain would not have an opportunity to vote if a referendum is held in the municipality of Signal Mountain. The opposition group wants to work with the board in partnership and collaboration to benefit from their expertise. He concluded by requesting a sit-down meeting with the board soon.

Signal Mountain resident Debbie Poss spoke next and asked the board to address what would happen regarding ownership of buildings and property if the Signal Mountain schools left the Hamilton County school district. 

Approval of minutes & agenda

Chairman Highlander moved to approve minutes from May 18 and May 25 meetings and approve the consent agenda. Thurman moved to pull agenda items B1a, C1T, and Ai, which received a unanimous yes vote.

School operations

Thurman stated that she would not approve a field trip to Panama scheduled for this summer and would not vote for any more trips that go that far from home. The field trips on the agenda were approved, with Thurman and Testerman voting no.

Business and finance

Thurman spoke about an EBS consulting contract totaling $128,000 a year.  EBS is used through insurance claims, school injuries or fires. She asked what the relationship is between EBS and Collins and Company and was told there is none. Collins and Company is a vendor. The EBS contract was then approved by the board.

Thurman then asked how many students graduate from the diploma completion program, pointing out that the director makes $100,000 per year. She also asked what kind of responsibility the director has. An employee from a related program, Renee, was called from the audience, who stated that they have served 96 students last school year, and 85 of those completed their diploma. She stated that the diploma completion program is necessary in addition to the adult high school because some students do not have transportation to get to the physical school in Ooltewah, and this program is available online. 

Thurman argued that there shouldn’t be duplicate services, and said the board has talked about creating an adult high school downtown. Renee responded that the diploma completion program is a less expensive option than opening another adult high schools.

Chairman Highlander motioned to vote on approval of money for services discussed.

Campus support

Dr. Lee McDade spoke on a first reading of policy change for community use of school facilities. Robinson asked if this policy would support community schools and McDade confirmed.

 

McDade then requested and received approval of the memorandum of understanding between HCDE and the Hamilton County Educators Association.

 

Thurman objected to a policy she found discriminatory because not every school would offer free lunch. She said that every child and every school should have the same opportunity to free meals. 

Robinson stated she held a forum with her constituents to talk about the state’s proposed takeover plan for failing schools in her district. She proposed a committee or working group be formed to explore the state’s proposal in more depth. She said the forum opened her eyes to other possibilities and ways to bring community into the process. She said she spoke with Representative Todd Gardenhire about the potential state takeover, because the move is currently not legal. The state department of education would have to pursue a change to legislation to make the state takeover legally viable. That change would have to go through Gardenhire’s education committee.

Lennon thanked the delegation from Signal Mountain for attending. She pointed out the meetings happening on Signal Mountain every week on the topic of the potential breakaway. She then asked board attorney Scott Bennett what would happen to buildings and property in the event of a breakaway.

Bennet said that the schools belong to the Hamilton County board of education. Signal Mountain would not just get the buildings. State law says that the title is vested in the county board of education. The general assembly spelled out that municipalities could buy, sell or lease school building (but not take them).

The contract between the town of Signal Mountain and the school board agreed the board would own the facilities for the duration of their life. The town of Signal Mountain committed in the contract that Signal Mountain Middle High School is owned by Hamilton County. Lennon stated that since the board owns the schools, she does not want to sell them.

Thurman asked if the Signal Mountain school buildings were paid for. Attorney Scott Bennett said that the county issued bonds to pay for the schools, so one cannot say there is a note like a deed on a house house. It is his understanding that there are still bonds issued, so legally they cannot transfer ownership.

Lennon reminded the audience that there are meetings regarding the potential district breakaway the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at Signal Mtn. Town Hall.  

School start times were next discussed. Changing to a two-tier start time would cost more money than the current three-tier start time to operate. Since the schedule is already tight, there would be increased expenses in the transportation budget to make this change.

Thurman then asked about bus contracts and suggested a work session and committee to evaluate bus contracts to present an alternative contract to the board for its approval. Dr. McDade agreed he would work with the committee on revising the contract. Wingate, Thurman, Highlander, Robinson, and Lennon volunteered to sit on the committee. A work session will be announced one week prior to meeting.

 

School Board Watch Blog: June 2017

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the June 15, 2017 (5:30 PM) regularly scheduled session of the Hamilton County School Board Meeting.  A special Work Session will be held immediately prior, beginning at 5:00 PM, for the school board to discuss the five finalist candidates for the position of superintendent, which will be voted on during the following regular session. 

Both meetings will be held in the Hamilton County School Board Meeting Room (3074 Hickory Valley Rd.). We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

  • The board will discuss superintendent finalist candidates (Dr. Wayne Johnson, Mr. Stuart Greenberg, Dr. Timothy Gadson, Dr. Bryan Johnson, and Dr. Kirk Kelly ) at a Work Session from 5-5:30 PM. They will vote to appoint a permanent superintendent at the beginning of the 5:30 PM regular session. Ballots will be taken until one candidate receives a minimum of five votes.
  • The School Nutrition Director is recommending the approval and renewal of the Community Eligibility Provision for the SY 2017-2018. This allows the same 39 schools that are being served this year to provide a meal at no cost to approximately 19, 624 students across the District, which represents 45.2% of total student enrollment.
  • Board Policy 1.407 School District Records- Second and Final Reading: The State Board of Education now requires all boards to have a public records policy in place by July 1, 2017. The director of schools must maintain all school district records required by law, regulation, and board policy. This also includes how to handle requests for copies or inspections of district records.
  • Board Policy 3.501 Wellness Policy- Second and Final Reading: The 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act requires each Local Education Agency (LEA) participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition programs to review our local school wellness policy annually. The revisions include a commitment to nutrition, understanding the connection between health and academic performance, promoting nutrition education, physical activity, and health goals, and the creation of a School Health Advisory Council.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Director of Career & Technical Education will recognize Richa Cherukuri for finishing second in the state in the Future Business Leaders of America state competition in the “Introduction to Information Technology” category. She will go on to represent Hamilton County at the FBLA National Conference.  

Field Trips:

  • CSAS, Central High School, Red Bank High School, Signal Mountain Middle High School,  Ooltewah High School, and Soddy Daisy High School will participate in competitions.  
  • East Hamilton School, Sale Creek Middle High School, and Soddy Daisy High School will send students to participate in camps.
  • Students from East Hamilton School and Hunter Middle School will travel to Washington, D.C.
  • Ooltewah High School will send students to the Republic of Panama for community service.

School Operations:

  • Ooltewah High School and East Ridge High School are requesting approval to add the special course “Facing History and Ourselves” to school curriculum.

Bids:

Board approval is sought for:

  • Contract Extension for Solid Waste Collection, Removal, and Disposal totalling $383,988.80 provided by the Operating Budget.
  • Contract Extension for Wood Carpet at original bid price coming from the Operating and Capital Projects Budgets.
  • Contract to Annually Inspect Wet & Dry Sprinklers, Backflow Devices and Floor Valves Systems with funds coming from the Operating Budget.
  • Contracts for Plumbing Projects with funds coming from the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • Contracts to Furnish Labor & Materials for Sheet Metal & Duct Work Projects with funds provided by the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • Contracts to Furnish & Install Acoustical Ceiling Grids with funds provided  by the Capital Projects Fund and Maintenance Budget.
  • Contracts for Drywall Installation & Related Projects with funds from the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • Contracts for Carpentry Related Projects with funds provided by the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Fund.
  • Contracts for Masonry Projects with funds from the Maintenance Budget and Capital Projects Funds.
  • Contract for Book Fairs with funds coming from the School Operating Budget.
  • Contract to Furnish Used Adopted Textbooks & Dispose of Out-of-Adopted Textbooks with funds coming from the Operating Budget.
  • Purchase of Locks/Hardware Replacement for Spring Creek Elementary and North Hamilton County Elementary totalling $16,992.00 for Spring Creek Elementary $11,615.00 for North Hamilton County Elementary.
  • Non-Exclusive Contract for Instructional, Library, Office Materials & Supplies with funds coming from the Operating and School Budget.
  • Non-Exclusive Contract for Instructional Computer Software with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Non-Exclusive Contract for Medical/First Aid Equipment & Supplies with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Contracts for the School Nutrition Program with funds coming from the School Nutrition Budget.
  • Purchase EMS Control Equipment & Supplies from Electronic Controls, Inc. and Automated Logic.
  • Annual Contract with Helton and Associates, Inc. for Asbestos (AHERA) and Other Indoor Air Quality Services, including Schedule of Fees for Engineering Services totalling $89,292.00.
  • Property and Casualty Insurance Renewal totalling $2,617,504 for all lines of coverage representing a 1.5% increase from 2016.
  • Contract Renewal with EBS Consulting for Employee Benefits and Risk Management totalling $6,951.00 per month for services.
  • Service Agreement with ATI Physical Therapy for Lookout Valley High School for 2017-18 School Year totalling $1,500.00.
  • Maintenance Renewal with SeachSoft for Applicant Tracking System (ATS) totalling $22,669.00 funded by the IT Department.
  • Use and Maintenance Agreement with eSchool Solutions for Smart Find Express totalling $31,713.00 funded by the IT Department.
  • Agreement with Educator Software Solutions for T-Eval Data Management Site totalling $36,000.00.
  • Speech/Language Billing and Related Administrative Services Agreement with Stellar Therapy, LLC.
  • Contract with Stellar Therapy Services, LLC to provide Speech/Language, Occupational & Physical Therapy Services not exceeding $1,989,972.00 with funds provided by Medicaid Reimbursement, IDEA Part B, and Ex Ed General Purpose Budget.
  • Contract with City of Chattanooga Dept. of Youth & Family Development Head Start/Early Head Start Program.  
  • Contract with Nova Southeastern University totalling $24,100.00 withs fund provided by the General Purpose Fund.
  • Contract with Orange Grove Center, Inc. for Educational Training of Students not exceeding $1,353,388.00 with funds provided from the General Purpose Fund.  
  • Contract with Orange Grove Center, Inc. for Work Training Placement Services totalling $30,000.00 with funds provided by the Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds.
  • Request Approval of Contract with Parkridge Medical Centers, Inc., dba Parkridge Valley Hospital for Therapeutic Treatment Services not exceeding $20,000.00 to be paid with IDEA Part B funds.
  • Contract with Signal Centers, Inc. for Special Education Services $666,287.00 to be paid with IDEA Part B Funds.
  • Contract with Signal Centers, Inc. for Adult Services Program totalling totalling $10,000.00 with funds coming from the Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds.
  • Memorandum of Understanding with Centerstone Mental Health Centers, Inc.
  • Contract with Chattanooga State Graduation Diploma Completion Program totalling $175,176.00 from the Title I School support funds.
  • Renew PPO Medical Reinsurance with Blue Reinsurance Insurance Company of Tennessee and HMO Medical Reinsurance with CIGNA totalling $325,000.00.
  • Renew Contract with Harland Technology division of ScanTron for Maintenance & Support of ScanTools Scanners totalling $25,000.00 with funds coming from the General Purpose Fund.
  • Annual Software Fee with Education Logistics  for the EDULOG Software used for routing of school buses. MM.Request Approval of Contract with Mose & Garrison Siskin Memorial Foundation, Inc totalling $10,361.00 with funds coming from the Transportation budget.  
  • Ratification of Emergency/Early approval for Bid File 17-58 Foundation Underpinning and Slab Jacking Repairs at Westview Elementary, Barger Academy, and East Ridge High School totalling $156,993.00 for all three schools with funds to be provided by the 2016-2017 Capital Projects fund.  

Business and Finance:

  • Approval sought for the authorization to carry over school accounts payable for schools with outstanding contractual obligations. Sufficient funds are on hand to cover these obligations totalling $240,218.03.
  • Approval is sought for a federal grant application for Title and IDEA services totalling $22,593,163.

Budget Amendments:

Board approval is sought to amend the FY2-17 General Purpose Operating Budget with transfers between accounts for:

  • Social Security, Retirement, and Teachers at East Ridge High School. No additional funds are requested, simply reallocation of approved funds.

Human Resources:

  • Approval is sought for the 2017-2018 Differential Pay Plan as is required by state law. There has been two changes from last year’s plan: 1) All references to the TIF School have been eliminated due to the end of the grant. Additional funds have been retained in  the FY18 budget for performance/retention bonuses at current Priority Schools and 2) Because of the major cuts to Title-I and Title-II funding, references to additional days for Instructional Coaches have been removed.

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • Board Policy 3.206 Community Use of School Facilities- First Reading: In order to allow school facilities to be used for memorial services, it is necessary to revise the board policy regarding the community use of school facilities. The addition to the current policy states that school facilities may be used for memorial services if approved by the principals. Funeral services are not to be held in school facilities.
  • Approval is sought of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HCDE and HCEA. As of result of collaborative conferencing, the professional development compensation has increased from $10 to $15 per hour, a 3% raise has been applied to the base generator of the salary scale, and a one-time $250 bonus has been allowed.  The 3% raise and $250 bonus were previously approved in the balanced budget.
  • Legal Services: For the month of May, a total of $27,133.50 was spent on legal services from Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC and Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams.

 

May 2017 School Board Watch Blog

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the May 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 1.407 School District Records- First Reading: The State Board of Education now requires all boards to have a public records policy in place by July 1, 2017. The director of schools must maintain all school district records required by law, regulation, and board policy. This also includes how to handle requests for copies or inspections of district records.
  • Board Policy 3.501 Wellness Policy- First Reading: The 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act requires each Local Education Agency (LEA) participating in the National School Lunch Program or other child nutrition programs to review our local school wellness policy annually. The revisions include a commitment to nutrition, understanding the connection between health and academic performance, promoting nutrition education, physical activity, and health goals, and the creation of a School Health Advisory Council.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Principal at Hamilton County High School will recognize Rachel Turner as one of six teachers in Tennessee to be awarded 2017 Outstanding Humanities Educator Award. Turner had the top growth gains in last year’s US History test, and had the highest level of effectiveness in Hamilton County.
  • The Director of JROTC will recognize unit and student achievement and honors of JROTC Cadets who obtained significant scholarships and/or national and state awards.
  • The Director of the Exceptional Education program will recognize the renaming of the PALS Center to the Amy Piazza Preschool Assessment and Learning Services Center.  In addition, Exceptional Education would like to present Amy’s parents with a plaque recognizing their daughter.
  • Coordinated School Health Coordinator, Cathy Jennings will be recognized for being voted as the 2016-2017 Southeast Regional Coordinator of the year during the Coordinated School Health Institute in Murfreesboro this month.
  • Leadership Chattanooga will present their team project to the board.

Field Trips

  • Hixson High School and East Hamilton High School will send students to compete in the Future Business Leaders of America National Competition.
  • Brown Middle School and Signal Mountain Middle High School will send students to compete in the Technology Student Association National Competition.
  • Hixson High School will compete in the Health Occupations Students of America National Competition.
  • Hixson High School, Central High School, Ooltewah High School, Red Bank High School, East Ridge High School, and Signal Mountain Middle High Schools will participate in camps.
  • Sequoyah High School will compete in the Skills USA National Competition.
  • Loftis Middle School will send students to attend the National Beta Club Convention.
  • Normal Park Museum Magnet School will send students to participate in TED-Ed Youth Talks in New York.  
  • Red Bank High School will send students in JROTC to compete in the National Academic Quiz Bowl Tournament.
  • STEM School Chattanooga will send members of the MIT Inventeam to attend MIT’s Eureka Fest 2017.
  • East Ridge High School will participate in the TMEA All State Conference.

Bids:

Board approval is sought for:

  • Contract to Chemically Treat Heating & Cooling Systems totalling $857.60 monthly from the Maintenance Operating Budget.
  • Contract to Purchase Electronic Security Equipment totalling $125.40 from the Maintenance Operating Budget.
  • Contract to Furnish Labor & Materials for Boiler, Piping and Duct Insulation Projects with funds to be provided by the Capital and Operating Budgets pending total material costs.
  • Contract to Furnish HP Cartridges with funds to be provided from the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Track Resurfacing for Red Bank High School totalling $160,950.00.
  • P.E./Athletic Equipment & Supplies Contract with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Science Equipment Materials & Supplies Contract with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Laminating Film and Routine Maintenance Contract with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Chartered Coach Service for Student Field Trips with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • German Reading and Teaching Materials Contract with funds provided by the Operating and School Budgets.
  • Recommendation for Bid Approval for the School Nutrition Program totalling $38,362.60 from the School Nutrition funds.
  • Request Approval to purchase from Snap-On-Industrial for Student Certification Kits totalling $51,626.04 with funding through the Perkins Grant.  
  • Request Approval to purchase Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s easyCBM, a k-8 benchmark progress monitoring and assessment service, totalling $127,750.00 per year with funds provided by the General Purpose Budget.  
  • Request Approval of contract with Public Consulting Group-EdPlan 504, providing administrative supports and trainings, totaling $11,425.75 with funds provided by the General Fund.
  • Request Approval of contract with Public Consulting Group-Goal Progress Monitoring and Transportation Wizard and IEP Goal/Objective Progress Monitoring System for 2017-18 SY totalling $15,185.63 from the IDEA Part B Funds.
  • .Request Approval to purchase Tennessee ACT Vouchers totalling $124,000.00 through State BEP funds.  
  • Request Approval to renew IBM SPSS Software Maintenance Subscription and Support Contracts totalling $36,932.45 from the General Purpose Fund.
  • Request Approval to renew Intelligence Annual Maintenance Subscription and Support contracts totalling $13,073.00 from the General Purpose Fund.
  • Request Approval to renew PowerSchool Software Maintenance Subscription and Support contract totalling $222,981.75 from the General Purpose Fund.
  • Request Approval to renew ESRI Software Maintenance Subscription and Support contract totalling $12,197.26 from the General Purpose Fund.
  • Approval to purchase camera systems for 69 contractor buses from Seon Systems Sales Inc.totalling $189,957.00 from the Transportation Budget.  

Business and Finance:

  • Approval sought to send sixty CTE teachers from various schools to attend the 2017 Institute for CTE teachers in Nashville, TN. This institute provides training that allows teachers to meet requirements for recertification. It also provides classroom content specific strategies that teachers can implement in their classrooms. At this institute, sessions are centered around Postsecondary Readiness, Career Readiness, and Teacher Readiness. Total cost is estimated at $39,150.00 with funding through the Perkins Grant.
  • Request for approval for teachers, administrators, and other staff members to attend the Professional Learning Communities at Work (PLCs) Institute conference in Atlanta, GA. This conference will enable staff members to learn and exchange information in the area of curriculum and instruction in improving the skills and knowledge of educators. This will total $25,000.00 with funding sources from Federal Title I and/or Federal Title II.
  • Approval sought from the Principal of St. Jude School for the contract/consultant agreement with A+ Educators for a total of $4,500.00 from their school based Federal Title II private school budget allocation. A+ Educators is the sole developer, publisher and copyright holder, therefore, the sole source of CORE CONNECT job-embedded professional development.
  • HCDE accepted a donation from Commissioner Tim Boyd of $5,000.00 from his bond fund to purchase band and orchestra instruments for CSLA.
  • HCDE accepted a donation from Commissioner Greg Beck of $7,000.00 from his bond fund to purchase a stadium sound system for Brainerd High School.
  • Director the the Pre-K Programs is requesting to apply for a grant totalling $2,675,517 from the State Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning to pay salaries for Pre-K teachers and assistants, purchase instructional materials and equipment, and provide stipends for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.
  • Approval and acceptance sought for the UTC Each One Reach One Grant application totalling $100,000.00.   

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2017 are recommended for approval:

  • Title I, Improving Basic Programs, with transfers between line items
  • School Improvement Grant Cohort III for IZONE District, with transfers between line items
  • School Improvement Grant Cohort III for IZONE Schools, with transfers between line items
  • Title II, Teacher & Principal Training & Recruitment, with transfers between line items
  • Safe Schools, with transfers between line items
  • Family Resource Center, with a net increase of $700
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (Year 3, East Lake Academy), with transfers between line items
  • Focus Schools, with transfers between line items
  • Read To Be Ready Grant, totaling $157,260
  • Carl Perkins Vocational Grant, with transfers between line items
  • CTE Incentive Grant, totaling $2,500
  • Bible History Teachers Self-Funded Program, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $178,399
  • Nursing Services Self-Funded Program, with transfers between line items
  • Gigabit Community Fund Self-Funded Program, with transfers between line items
  • HCEA Representative Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $364
  • Benwood Foundation Self-Funded Program, with transfers between line items
  • School Paid Positions Self-Funded Program, with transfers between line items and a net increase of $87,025

School Board approval is needed for transfer of funds to the Capital Maintenance Fund. This amendment anticipates an increase in sales tax revenue of $1,500,000, and provides that this revenue increase be allocated to the Capital Maintenance Fund for facility upgrades.

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • Board Policy 6.503 Homeless Students- Second and Final Reading: This policy ensures full compliance with the Every Child Succeeds Act. Revisions include that homeless students will be automatically enrolled in school even if they are not able to produce records normally required for enrollment, placement in a school shall be determined based on student interest but also preference is given to a student’s school of origin (school they were enrolled in when last holding a residence), and schools shall keep records on homeless students.
  • Board approval is sought to renew the Community Eligibility Provision in the nutrition program for 2017-2018 school year, ensuring free cost meals be provided to 19,624 students across the District (45.2% of total student enrollment). It is recommended that the same 39 CEP schools served this year will continued to be served next school year.
  • The Principal at Normal Park Lower is seeking approval to build a gym stricture on the back of the current campus property. Parents, students, teachers, and staff have worked collaboratively and desire a gym so students will have the opportunity to take P.E. classes in an adequate space, since currently, classes are being taught on the auditorium stage. Currently, the school has raised over $160,000.00 to build the new gym space and is in the process of obtaining permit approval.
  • Request for approval to submit the special course application for Soddy Daisy High School Study of Hispanic Cultures course to the State Department of Education for 2017-2018 school year. This application is required for requesting approval of all secondary education courses that are not already approved by the State Board of Education.
  • Christina Henderson from Hixson High School and Laurie Clifton from CSLA are teachers who have become eligible for tenure.
  • Legal Services: For the month of April, a total of $39,976.96 was spent on legal services from Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC, Markel, von Kessler, & Cox, and Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams. .

Important Dates and Events

  • May 19th-May 20th, 2017: Graduation Ceremonies at the Tivoli and the Memorial Auditorium
  • May 25th, 2017: Half Day for Students
  • May 26th, 2017: Last Day of School/Report Cards (Buses will not run)
  • May 29th, 2017: Memorial Day (Central Office closed)
  • May 30th, 2017: Begin Four-Day Work Week (Central Office and Schools closed on Fridays)

 

Letter to School Board Chairman Steve Highlander: Where’s the Plan for Superintendent Search?

The following letter was sent to Board of Education Chairman Steve Highlander (copying all members of the Board) on May 5, 2017.

To: Chairman Steve Highlander

CC: Joe Galloway, Karitsa Jones, Kathy Lennon, Tiffanie Robinson, Joe Smith, David Testerman, Rhonda Thurman, Joe Wingate

Dear Chairman Highlander:

UnifiEd calls on the Hamilton County Board of Education for the immediate release of its plan for the school superintendent search and selection process. This call comes after the board’s move this week to trim the list of candidates with input through private email and a decision process based upon criteria that have not been made public.

In the absence of a public plan for the search and selection process, the community is left without a transparent view of the process. It also creates a lack of accountability on the board for its actions.

We call for the restoration of transparency in this process going forward. The community deserves to know how candidates are being evaluated, when decisions will be made, and how they can be involved in this important decision impacting the future of our public schools.

Four recommendations emerged from public meetings UnifiEd held in every district in Hamilton County in 2016 on the topic of the superintendent search. For more than a year, we have called for the following elements to be included in the board’s search and selection plan to ensure community involvement in this important decision:

  • Live streamed public interviews of potential candidates
  • Public access to finalist candidate resumes online
  • Open forums for community members
  • The creation of a community advisory council

At the October 2016 school board meeting, you committed to creating a plan to involve the community in the process and indicated that the search firm’s first task should be the creation of a plan for engaging the community. You also asked that the board’s policy committee draft a plan. To our knowledge, none of these recommendations was implemented.

Now is the time to release your plan for this process that includes a community involvement component. On behalf of our community, UnifiEd looks forward to seeing this position filled by the most qualified candidate after a thorough and transparent search that takes into account perspectives as diverse as our population.

Best regards,

Jonas Barriere
Executive Director, UnifiEd

 

 

Digging in to HCDE’s Proposed Budget Increase

Understanding the schools’ request

Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) presented a general operating budget for the 2017-18 school year to the Board of Education finance committee last Thursday that totaled $397 million, a $33.5 million increase over the current year’s budget.

“Download full details” sample document for each focus area

Let’s dig into how the requested additional funds would be spent if granted. The requests are organized by HCDE’s six areas of strategic focus.

Each section has a link to documents issued by HCDE with more details like:

  • Why these investments?
  • Details on each request
  • Expected outcomes
  • What if these needs are NOT funded?

Strong Foundations: Literacy and Math

Total requested increase: $1,600,000

Additional funds request at a glance:

  • Added literacy support for priority and on-the-cusp schools ($900,000)
  • Expanding innovative and effective math instruction ($100,000)
  • Supporting schools with literacy materials ($500,000)
  • Kindergarten readiness support ($52,000)

See full details >

Engage Every Child. Every Day.

Total requested increase: $8,700,000

Additional funds request at a glance:

  • School technology upgrades and support ($7,600,000)
  • Robotics program continuation and expansion ($63,200)
  • Hands-on science and art pilots ($250,000)
  • Art and eLab teachers ($780,000)

See full details >

Future Ready: Prepare All Students for College & Career

Total requested increase: $1,900,000

Additional funds request at a glance:

  • Core funding for the new Chattanooga Polytechnic Academy ($586,000)
  • Expanding post-graduation options for high school students, including work-based learning and technical credentials for high-demand jobs ($1,300,000)

See full details >

Closing the Opportunity Gap

Total requested increase: $4,000,000

Additional funds request at a glance:

  • Support for our growing English Language Learner population ($677,000)
  • Strategic and differentiated support for priority and cusp schools ($1,500,000)
  • Additional support for student health services ($289,000)
  • Increased supports for students with special needs ($964,000)
  • Charter school enrollment increases ($474,000)
  • Replicate Graduate on Point program at additional schools ($150,000)

See full details >

Great Teachers, Great Leaders

Total requested increase: $14,500,000

Additional funds request at a glance:

  • Cost of living adjustment and step pay increase for all educators ($11,000,000)
  • Strengthening our pipeline to ensure a great leader in every school ($417,000)
  • Additional teaching positions for projected enrollment increases ($1,500,000)
  • Professional learning to support beginning teachers ($1,400,000)
  • Increase capacity to recruit and train top talent ($148,000)

See full details >

Building Our Values: Culture, Climate, and Communication

Total requested increase: $2,800,000

Additional funds request at a glance:

  • School-based telephone support for communication and safety ($500,000)
  • Increase in block grants to allow more site-based decisions ($1,000,000)
  • Increases in custodial and transportation services ($1,300,000)

See full details >

UnifiEd’s take

The requested increase in funds has been tied to expected student outcomes, a first for HCDE and a step UnifiEd has called for as part of the Pact for Public Education. We are very pleased at this big step toward the goal and hope HCDE administration will expand on this approach by tying the full budget to outcomes in the future.

The Pact also calls for a multi-year operating budget. Dr. Kirk Kelly, interim superintendent, told the Board at the April 13 finance committee meeting that he would be presenting a multi-year budget “soon.” We commend the commitment to this Pact goal and look forward to seeing it presented!

Still unaddressed is a long-term plan for building and expanding schools, as well as addressing the massive backlog of maintenance issues. UnifiEd calls for HCDE and the county to work together to create and fund a multi-year capital plan that creates efficiencies and opportunities for equitable access to quality education for every student in Hamilton County.

Take action!

Our school funding campaign hub gives you all the tools to take action in support of increased funding for our schools.

  • “Find your elected officials” feature: Select your neighborhood to see who your school board member, county commissioner, and county mayor are, plus their contact info.
  • Tools to contact your county officials: Download a letter to sign and mail, get a phone script for making a call, or get suggested text for an email.

Visit the campaign hub now >

Finally, turn out to support school funding! The school board will vote on HCDE’s proposed budget on Thursday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. Whether you support HCDE’s proposed budget specifically, or more funding for our schools in general, be there to show the school board that our community values investment in education!

UnifiEd will be there with pizzas and posters to help you share your voice – let’s fund Hamilton County’s future! Board meeting info >

School Board Watch Blog – April 20

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the April 20th 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:

  • Turn Out for More School Funding! Join UnifiEd at 5:00pm before the school board meeting to support our schools in making more funding for education a priority. We will have posters available! 
  • Board approval is recommended for the FY 2018 Budget presentation to the County Commission. The proposed budget is as follows:     
    • General Purpose School Fund totaling $396,747,961.00
    • Federal Projects Fund totaling $26,109,427.00
    • Food Service Fund totaling $20,954,014.00
    • Self-funded Projects Fund totaling $6,039,657.00

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • David Cowan, Director of Career and Technical Education, is recognizing East Hamilton High School’s Virtual Enterprises International Program for receiving first and second place at the Midwest Regional Trade Fair Business Plan Competition..
  • Lakesha Carson, the Principal of East Lake Academy, and Jill Levine will recognize Erin Glenn, eighth grade American History teacher, as the winner of the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies Middle School Teacher of the Year Award.
  • The music teachers of Hamilton County schools will recognize the students from various programs who have achieved the title of Tennessee All-State Musician.
  • Jill Levine will announce Shellie Gibson from Smith Elementary, Kristin Burrus from CSAS, and Jessica Hubbuch from Howard High School, as Teachers of the Year. Ms. Burrus has been chosen as the Southeast Regional Middle School Tennessee Teacher of the Year.
  • HCDE is recognizing two educators, Erin Glenn from East Lake Academy and Kay Goodgame from Signal Mountain Middle/High, who have have recently achieved National Board Certification (NBC).
  • The Principal at Brainerd High School will give an iZone update to the school board.  

Field Trips

  • Soddy Daisy High School, Brainerd High School, the Howard School, Red Bank Middle School, Sale Creek Middle High School, CSLA, CCA, CSAS Upper, and Signal Mountain Middle High will send students to participate in competitions or tournaments.
  • CCA, CSAS Lower, Hixson High School, Hixson Middle, the Howard School, and Normal Park will send students to attend camps.
  • CSAS Upper will send students to visit the capitol at Washington, D.C.
  • CSLA will host a lock in on campus that will serve as an auction fundraiser.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School and East Hamilton School will participate in music related field trips.
  • STEM School will travel to Boston to attend the 2017 MIT Eureka Fest.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will send students to travel to Germany to complete a cultural comparison project with the German-American Partnership program.

Bids and Contracts:

  • Board approval is requested for contract extensions for several maintenance projects. The board had previously awarded contracts for these described goods and services and right was reserved to extend the contracts for an additional twelve-month period. Funding Source: Operating/Maintenance and Capital Projects Budgets:
    • Contracts to Service Fire Extinguishers & Kitchen Hood Suppression Systems, Asbestos Abatement for School System, Air monitoring Services for Asbestos Projects, Furnish Labor & Materials for Electrical Projects, Annual Elevator Inspection, Repair & Preventative Maintenance Program, Furnish & Install VCT & Rubber Base, Furnish Heating Fuel, Furnish & Install Aluminum Walkway Covers & Canopies, Relocate Portable Classrooms, and Routine Roof Repairs & Replacement
  • Recommended approval is sought for:
    • A Request for Proposal to provide a Drug & Alcohol Testing program.
    • Contracts to furnish library books and Processing & Card Catalog Kits.
    • Purchase of air cooled chiller for Battle Academy, Brown Middle, and Woodmore Elementary.
    • HVAC Control Upgrades for Spring Creek Elementary School totalling $201,000.00 to Electronic Controls, Inc. with funds provided by 2016/17 Capital Projects Fund.
    • Bid renewals for the School Nutrition Program 2017-18.
    • School Annual Publishers for 2017-18.
    • Purchase of new vehicles totalling $193,313.95 with the funding from Maintenance General Funds.
    • Contract with Zonar Systems, Inc. for 69 GPS Tracking Systems to be installed in owner operated buses totalling $22, 083.41 from the Transportation budget. This will provide data on the path, speed, and location of these buses.  
    • Purchase of 75 Motorola Radios and charging devices from Motorola Solutions, Inc. Current radio systems will be obsolete in 2018. This will total $181,137.03 from the Transportation budget.
    • Working on repairing and replacing music/band equipment with Giant Steps, a local vendor for musical equipment repairs and parts, for school year 2017-18.
    • Emergency and early approval for commodity processing for the Hamilton County School Nutrition program.  
    • Emergency and early approval to contract with School Bus Consultants, LLC to assess existing contracts to establish requirements for contract compliance and oversight, develop a contractor accountability plan for all operators, and ensure adequate staffing to oversee contracts. This will total $15,500.00 from the Transportation Budget.   
    • The purchase of motor fuel from JAT Oil Company totalling $13,529.60 from the Warehouse Inventory Fund.       

Business and Finance:

  • Approval sought for two HCDE employees from the Information Technology Department to attend the International Society for Technology in Education Conference to learn and exchange information in field of educational technology. This will not exceed $10,000.00 coming from the General Fund Budget.
  • Approval sought for a contract with Public Education Foundation and the Principal Leadership Academy for training, mentorship, and support for Assistant Principals interested in moving into a Principal role. This will total $100,000.00 from the General Fund Budget.
  • HCDE has accepted a donation for $5,000.00 from Commissioner Discretionary bog funds for the installment and purchase of acoustic blankets for CCA.
  • The board will be asked to approve the charging of basic school fees to students for the FY 2017-2018. These fees will vary from school to school and between grades.
  • The board will receive the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Hamilton County for the 2016 year as a matter of record for the minutes. This covers the financial statements for the Board of Education as well as the audit report which indicates the statements fairly presents the financial position of Hamilton County. This report is publically available on the Hamilton County website.
  • The board will receive the School Activity Fund Audit Report for Hamilton County Schools for the 2016 year as a matter of record for the minutes. The audit report indicates that the financial statements fairly present the financial position of the School Activity Funds in accordance with the accounting practices prescribed by the Tennessee Internal School Uniform Accounting Policy Manual. This report is publically available.   

Budget Amendments

  • The following budget amendments for Federal Grants and Self-Funded Programs for FY 2017 are recommended for approval:
    • Maintenance Recyclables Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $13,029
    • Character Education Self-Funded Program, with transfers between line item Supplies for Regular Instruction to Hardware/Software Licences totally $1.389.00.
  • Board approval is needed to amend the FY17 General Purpose Operating Budget for the attached transfers within the Transportation and Instructional School Supplies accounts.
  • Approval is recommended to appropriate the unassigned fund balance of $5,324,000 for funds roofing projects at Hunter Middle School, Lookout Valley Middle/High Vocational, Soddy Middle, Tyner High Vocational and Auditorium, and Wallace Smith Elementary, installation of HVAC Controls at Wolftever Elementary, and the completion of the district wide telephone installation and 50 intercom or paging systems at schools for additional school safety.  

Curriculum and Instruction:

  • The Textbook Adoption Committee selected high quality instructional resources for use in Hamilton County classrooms and are recommending the approval of a list of textbooks totalling $284,166.40.
  • Approval is sought to submit the secondary education special courses applications to the State Department of Education for the 2017-18 school year.

Campus Support:

  • Soddy Daisy High School and community would like to transfer the name of the Gymnasium at the old school to the current existing high school. The name was approved by the School Board previously. The name is in honor of Ernest “Big Boy” Eldridge, who was a major influence on hundreds of student athletes in the northern Hamilton County area.
  • Lee McDade will recommend a 2017-2018 tuition rate of $3,305 for out-of-county students (in-state of Tennessee) and $8,570 for out-of-state students. Tuition is based on the revenues that are not received since the student resides either out-of-county or out-of state. Out-of-county proposed tuition increased by $13 or 0.39% compared to last year, while the out-of-state proposed tuition increased by $258 or 3.10%. Additionally, it is recommended that out-of-county or state exceptional education students be evaluated for admission on a case-by-case basis.
  • A presentation will be given for HCDE’s 3rd Quarter Bullying Report for the 2016-17 school year. There were a total of 203 reported confirmed cases of bullying.   
  • Policies:

 

  • Board Policy 4.210 Credit Recovery-2nd and Final Reading: This policy states that the director of schools shall ensure that credit recovery facilitators receive training regarding course organization, online instruction management and related technology. Credit recovery teachers shall comply with all State Board of Education certification requirements. Students will be eligible for credit recovery if they get written consent from a parent/guardian or previously taken an initial, non‐credit recovery section of the proposed course and received a grade of at least 50%.
  • Board Policy 4.211 Work Based Learning Program-2nd and Final Reading: This policy states that students shall have access to a system of structured work-based learning (WBL) experiences that allow them to apply classroom theories to practical problems as well as explore career options.  The director of schools shall develop administrative procedures to govern the efficient administration of the WLB program. Such procedures shall include, among other things, a process for evaluation and assessment of the program to ensure that it is of high quality and meets the needs of students.
  • Board Policy 4.606 Graduation Requirements-2nd and Final Reading: Graduation requirements are being updated to say that before high school graduation, every student must achieve the specified units of credit, take the required end of course exams, have satisfactory records of attendance and conduct, take the ACT or SAT in the 11th grade, and successfully complete a United States civics test. In addition requirements for early or special education graduation are detailed in the new policy.
  • Board Policy 4.607 Graduation Activities-2nd and Final Reading: Policy has been updated to now say that participation in the graduation ceremony is optional and students who participate must not behave in a disruptive manner. Additionally.  ceremonies and all activities included shall not be religious in nature. The content of any students’ speeches shall not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the school, employees, or the board. Additionally principals shall ensure that students graduating with distinction, state honors, or voluntarily completed at least 10 hours of community service each semester are recognized at graduation.
  • Board Policy 5.117 Procedures for Granting Tenure-2nd and Final Reading: A revision is being made to procedure granting tenure. Now the superintendent will recommend persons eligible for tenure at a board meeting with enough time to give notice of non-renewal to each teacher or educator not granted tenure within five (5) business days following the last instructional day of the school year.
  • Board Policy 6.205 Student Assignments-2nd and Final Reading: Students, including those in kindergarten, shall attend the school to which they are assigned. Principals shall be responsible for assigning students to classrooms based on records. Additionally, principals shall separate an alleged victim of child sexual abuse from an alleged perpetrator if the abuse allegedly occurred while the child was under the supervision or care of the school.
  • Board Policy 6.415 Student Suicide Prevention-2nd and Final Reading: All school certified staff must attend a suicide identification and prevention education training. This policy corresponds with and supports other federal, state and local efforts to provide youth with prevention education, early identification and intervention, and access to all local resources to promote health and prevent personal harm or injury.
  • Board Policy 6.505 Students in Foster Care-2nd and Final Reading: The Hamilton County School System shall provide all students in foster care, to include those awaiting foster care placement, with a free and appropriate public education. This policy include provisions for placement, enrollment, and transportation of foster students to schools.

Administrative Matters:

    • Lee McDade and the Transportation Supervisor are requesting the approval of independent bus driver contracts, contracts from HCDE employees who are independent contractors, and the contract with Durham Bus Services for the 2017-18 school year. These contracts have been reviewed.
    • For the month of March, a total for $16,978.50 in legal fees was paid to the firms Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC and Markel, von Kessler, & Cox.

 

  • Board Policy 6.503 Homeless Students-1st Reading: In order to be more comprehensive and comply with the Every Child Succeeds Act, the current policy on Homeless Students is being revised. These revisions include that homeless students will be automatically enrolled in school even if they are not able to produce records normally required for enrollment, placement in a school shall be determined based on student interest but also preference is given to a student’s school of origin (school they were enrolled in when last holding a residence), and schools shall keep records on homeless students.

 

  • Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly will present a suggested schedule of sessions for the remainder of 2017.  

Important Dates and Events

  • May 19th and 20th, 2017→ Graduation Ceremonies at the Tivoli and the Memorial Auditorium
  • May 8th-20th, 2017→ Graduation Ceremonies at McKenzie Arena
  • May 25th, 2017→ Half Day for Students
  • May 26th, 2017→ Last Day of School/Report Cards (Buses will not run)

School Board Watch Blog: February 2017

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the February 16th 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 5.1041 Americans with Disabilities-First Reading: Due to federal law, there will an adoption in board policy regarding the American Disabilities Act (ADA) so that all employees specifically understand the ADA requirements. It details how employees can request for ADA Assistance.
  • iZone and Strategic Plan Update: Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly will give an iZone update at the start of the school board meeting. Beginning last year, HCDE created a Strategic Plan draft for the 2017 year and Dr. Kelly will also give an update on its progress. This plan had a detailed focus on better supporting iZone schools.
  • Vote on the Title transfer of East Ridge High School Athletics Complex: An Interlocal Agreement has been made and entered into between the Hamilton County Board of Education and the City of East Ridge, Tennessee. HCDE agrees to transfer the title of the East Ridge High School Athletics Complex to the City of East Ridge for such time as the Board of Education operates East Ridge High School and East Ridge Middle School at their present locations.

Recognitions and Presentations:

  • The Principal of Orchard Knob and the iZone Director are requesting to honor the Orchard Knob Middle School Spelling Bee winners. In the District 4 Spelling Bee, student from OKMS placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and we are excited to honor their incredible work and achievement.
  • The Principal of Lookout Valley Middle High will give a recognition of a student who maintained perfect attendance for all 12 years of his schooling.

Field Trips

  • Hixson High School will send students to students to attend Future Business Leaders of America State competition.
  • Lakeside Academy will participate in a science field trip at the Nature’s Classroom in Mentone, Alabama.
  • Signal Mountain High School, Lookout Valley Middle High, East Hamilton School, East Ridge High School, and Sale Creek High will send students to participate in the Tennessee YMCA Youth in Government Capital Conference and Tri-Star Conference.
  • East Hamilton Middle High School and Ooltewah High School will participate in the Special Olympics Winter Games.
  • Central High School will send students to Hendersonville to compete in a tournament.
  • CSAS Upper will send students to present research at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
  • East Hamilton School, Hixson High School, Ooltewah Middle School, and Signal Mountain Middle High will participate in sports related field trips
  • Hixson High School, Red Bank High School, and Sale Creek High School will send students enrolled in JROTC to participate in related field trips.
  • Sale Creek High School will participate in an Art related field trip.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in the Science Bowl 2017.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in arts and music related field trips.
  • Soddy Daisy High School will participate in the National Forensics Qualifier Tournament.
  • STEM School will send students to compete in a robotics competition.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School will participate in the Model United Nations Conference.

Bids:

  • The Principal at Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts is requesting the purchase of 21 pianos for music classes and programming totalling $45,178.97 for cost of equipment and installation.
  • The Director of Exceptional Education is requesting that the board approve the amendment with Stellar Therapy, for the provision of speech and language services to Private and Home School students. This contract amendment is for the private school proportional services plan paid for from the IDEA, Part B Grant $ 291,341 and IDEA, Preschool Grant $7,804 not to exceed $299,145.00.
  • The Director of Exceptional Education is requesting that the board approve the amendment with Stellar Therapy for a staffing contract for the 2015-2016 SY. The amendment is needed to cover additional staffing needs to cover two leave of absences, and one full time unfilled SLP position that has been vacant all school year. The contract amendment is for an additional $76,000 for the 16-17 school year making the total contract not to exceed $2,065,972.00.
  • A request to the board is being made for the approval to utilize CARTA for transportation services and as an additional charter bus carrier for the remainder of school year 2016-17, and include the 2017-18 school year.
  • The Principal at Red Bank Elementary School is requesting the approval of the purchase of leveled reading books collections A through E with Pioneer Valley Press/Books for a total of $1,606.50 from their school based Federal Title I budget.
  • A request is being made for the contract purchase of Reading Plus for Hamilton County High Schools. This contract includes Reading Plus seat access for 18 district high schools and program access for 36 months. The total investment is $174,400. with an agreement between HCDE and McClellan Foundation both paying half the amount ($87,200), which will come out of their General Budget.

Business and Finance:

  • The Principal at Boyd-Buchanan High School is requesting the approval to attend the TAIS Global Education in the classroom and beyond to be held in Nashville TN totalling the amount of $701.25. Funding for this request will come from the school’s based Federal Title II budget.
  • Approval is being requested for up to 10 staff members from Signal Mountain Middle School to attend an upcoming International Baccalaureate workshop in Atlanta, Georgia. Because the school has implemented the Middle Years Program, teachers are required to receive continuous training in their subject area for certification. The Conference Attendance Request totals $18,314.20. This includes registration and travel expenses for the group. Funds are to be provided by the General Purpose Budget.
  • A+Educators will provide a Dive into Google Drive one day training workshop for all 25 teachers, 2 school administrators, and 3 paraprofessionals totalling $4,500.00.
  • Assistant Superintendent of Finance will present the monthly financial report comparing budget to actual through December, 2016.

Budget Amendments

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

  • Title I, Improving Basic Programs, with transfers between line items and a net decrease of $46,093
  • Title II, Teacher & Principal Training & Recruitment, with transfers between line items and a net decrease of $7,268
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers at Year 3 for East Lake Academy, with transfers between line items
  • Volkswagen Teacher Training & Development Self-Funded Program, totaling $1,717
  • Gigabit Community Fund Self-Funded Program, totaling $10,000
  • Supplemental Salaries Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $27,798

Additionally, board approval is needed to amend the FY17 General Purpose Operating Budget for the transfers between accounts for staffing, human resources, and system-wide benefits.

Human Resources:

  • Approval sought for a one-year Sabbatical Leave request by current I-Zone Director, Sheryl Randolph. Approval would result in Ms. Randolph receiving 50% of her current  salary during this leave while working through her doctoral studies. Her position would need to be back-filled during this time.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • To combat issues with a dated phone system in HCDE, the board has approved the Metro Nashville Contract for internet services and voice services for ENA in April 2016. Education Network of America (ENA) provides a voice over IP (VoIP) solution for telephones and for paging. In the August 2016 board meeting, the HCDE board approved $2 million for these telecommunication improvements. Contract and funding is in place to cover this purchase and it is recommended to provide the ENA SmartVoice solution for the entire school district.
  • Lee McDade will provide the board with a transportation update.
  • For the month of January, HCDE paid $25,697.84 in legal fees to Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC.

Important Dates and Events

  • President’s Day-February 20, 2017 (non-paid Holiday for School Staff-12 month employees report-offices will be open)