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)

 

School Board Recap: January 2017

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

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

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

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

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

 

School Board Recap: Dec. 15, 2016

Prior to the regularly scheduled school board session, the finance committee met to discuss the school budget. Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Purchasing, Christy Jordan, gave a presentation to the board describing in detail where the school system receives funding and how money is being spent across the county. The finance meeting ended with discussions about contract renewals with independently contracted bus drivers and our contract with Durham School Services. The board agreed to hold a work session on Dec. 28 at 3 PM to further discuss all contracted bussing services. 

The regularly scheduled board meeting began with statements from board members and the superintendent regarding Woodmore Elementary. Steve Highlander, Karitsa Jones, and Kirk Kelly all thanked the community for their continued support and praised Woodmore Principal Brenda Adamson-Cothran for her strength and leadership during this tragedy. A moment of silence was held for the 6 children who lost their lives in the bus crash and prayers were shared for all affected families. There will be a Christmas for Woodmore event on Dec. 17 from 12-4 PM which will include fun activities for the community and presents for over 100 students at Woodmore Elementary.

The Loftis Beta Club was recognized for receiving 1st place in the Power of Tower competition, making them state champions two years in a row. They are qualified to go to Disney World in June to compete nationally. The president of HCEA, Dan Liner, approached to board to discuss the importance of implementing the community schools model in Hamilton County and asked the board to add this to their discussion at their upcoming strategic planning work session in January. Kirsten Johnson, the Harrison Elementary PTA president, addressed the board about the dilapidating conditions at Harrison Elementary. She described hazardous conditions including sewage backup, faulty heating systems, chipping lead paint, and lack of space for classroom activities. District 4 board member, Tiffanie Robinson, agreed to host a work session to prioritize facility repairs, and student board member, D’Andre Anderson, applauded the teachers at Harrison Elementary for continuing to be exemplary educators despite their working conditions.

All items on the agenda were approved which included a vote on the selected calendar for SY 2017-18, the second and final reading of Board Policy 5.305, and the renaming of the PALS Center. Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly walked the school board through the updated TN Report Card available on tn.gov and discussed the iZone plan the school system has begun to implement in the 5 priority schools across Hamilton County. The iZone plan includes strategies such as: increased truancy officers, additional bussing options, a PATHS program to improve college and career readiness through literacy, ACT bootcamp, a WAY program for students who don’t fit into the regular school day, a new mentoring program for new teaches, community school expansion, principal coaches, and a new principals network.

The meeting closed with a discussion about municipalities wanting to breakaway from the Hamilton County school district. Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Lee McDade, has met with one of the municipalities and has offered assistance in investigating the breakaway. Many board members voiced that they believe our system is stronger together and that we should all work to support an informed decision.

The next agenda session will be on January 12th at 5 PM. There will be a work session prior to the meeting at 4 PM to discuss the superintendent selection process with Coleman Lew and Associates.

 

School Board Watch Blog: November 17, 2016

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the November 17th 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:

  • First Reading of Board Policy 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave: Provisions are being added to the Family and Medical Leave policy that states an employee may submit any form of medical documentation to Human Resources to have leave authorized under FMLA. In addition, the School District is able to designate leave as FMLA under their discretion if they feel adequate medical documentation or information was provided to the District. This policy change provides an important area of clarification for the system regarding medical documentation.

Field Trips

  • CSAS Upper and Hixson High School will participate in band and orchestra related field trips.
  • Brainerd High School, Hixson High School, Signal Mountain Middle High School, Central High School, East Hamilton School, Red Bank High School, and Sale Creek Middle High  will participate in sports related field trips.
  • CSLA will participate in a travel related field trip.
  • Hixson High will participate in a college and leadership related field trip.
  • Signal Mountain Middle High School, Lookout Valley Middle High School, and Sale Creek High will participate in Model UN or Youth in Government related field trips.
  • East Ridge High School, Ooltewah High School, and Sequoyah High School will participate in competitive Hot Rodding and JROTC related field trips.
  • Brown Middle School will participate in an American government related field trip.

Bids:

  • Approval sought to purchase restroom panels for Washington Alternative School in the amount of $15,665 from Service Systems.
  • Approval sought for Brainerd High School to contract with Reading Plus for a total of $2,166 from their Title I budget.
  • Approval sought for Sequoyah High School to contract with Reading Plus for a total of $5,500 from their Title I budget.
  • Approval sought to amend contract with Stellar Therapy Services, LLC for nursing services reimbursement for HCDE. The reimbursement is for Medicaid eligible students through Stellar Therapy.

Conferences and Consultants:

  • Approval sought from the Principal at Orchard Knob Elementary for the consultant agreement with Jessica Kaminski for a total of $9,600.00 from the iZone Federal budget. The consultancy will work on professional development for teachers aimed at increasing student achievement in literacy.

Financial Report

  • Presentation of the monthly financial report comparing actual year-to-date expenditures to the original adopted budget and the year-to-date amended budget from up to September 2016.

Budget Amendments

The following budget amendments for Self-Funded Programs for FY2017 are recommended for School Board approval:

  • Therapy Services Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $300,000
  • Character Education Self-Funded Program, with a net increase of $26,482
  • Photography Self-Funded Program, totaling $400,000
  • Ochs-Oakes Self-Funded Program, totaling $2,250

First Reading of Board Policy

  • Board Policy 5.305 – Family and Medical Leave: Provisions are being added to the Family and Medical Leave policy that states an employee may submit any form of medical documentation to Human Resources to have leave authorized under FMLA. In addition, the School District is able to designate leave as FMLA under their discretion if they feel adequate medical documentation or information was provided to the District. This policy change provides an important area of clarification for the system regarding medical documentation.

Administrative and Business Matters

  • Dr. Lee McDade will recommend the approval of the 2016-2017 Local Education Agency (LEA) Compliance Report. The TN Department of Education requires that local school boards certify that they are in compliance with TN and State Board of Education rules and regulations. The compliance report was reviewed by HCDE staff.
  • Justin Witt will address the school board to recommend approval of a request by Crown Castle to extend our current lease agreements for cell towers at Orchard Knob Middle School, CCA, and Central High School. The current agreement regarding cell towers will expire in 2023 and the base rental fee is $1,064.00. After discussing different options HCDE mutually agreed to extend the lease to 2043 with a new base rental fee of $1,500.00. The new rate will increase by 2% annually.

Important Dates and Events

  • December 8th, 2016: Board Agenda Work Session at 5:00pm in the Board Room
  • December 15th, 2016: Quarterly Session Board Meeting at 5:00pm in the Board Room
  • December 16th, 2016: Last day of Classes
  • December 19th-30th 2016: Winter Break

School Board Recap: August 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

School Board Recap: July 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

School Board Watch Blog: July 2016

In this edition of UnifiEd’s School Board Watch Blog, we will take a look at the agenda for the July 21st regularly scheduled session of the Hamilton County School Board Meeting. The meeting will be held in the Hamilton County School Board Meeting Room at 3074 Hickory Valley Road and is set to begin at 5:30 PM. We will live tweet @UnifiEdHC, follow along at #HCSchools.

To see the entire agenda with supporting documents click here.

Hot Topics:

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

Overnight Field Trips for the 2016-2017 School Year:

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

Bids:

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

Contracts:

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

Conferences and Consultants:

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

Monthly Financial Report:

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

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

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

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

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

Administrative and Business Matters:

  • Volunteer Electric Cooperative Load Reduction Pilot

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

  • Thrasher Athletic Field

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

School Board Recap June 2016

The June 16th School Board Meeting began with a unanimous vote to accept a $4.5 million offer for the sale of East Brainerd Elementary. HCDE will see a $4,140,000 net gain from the property sale.

The meeting continued with a recognition of UnifiEd’s own D’Andre Anderson as the newest student School Board Member. In the spirit of recognizing student excellence, the School Board honored Ella, a second grade student at Allen Elementary for winning the State Department of Education Essay Contest. Ella wrote her essay in honor of her teacher Mrs. Russel who instilled her love for reading. Ella won a $400 scholarship for her future college endeavors and $400 for Mrs. Russell’s school materials.

The board unanimously voted to approve all field trips, business and finance, and human resources proposals. A more detailed description of the approved proposals can be found here. The Revised Board policies on nepotism, nonrenewal, sick leave, and solicitations were also unanimously approved.

The Community Eligibility Provision for the School Nutrition Program, that serves free breakfast and lunch to schools in need, cut back seven schools for the 2016-2017 school year. The board voted in favor (7-2) of accepting the grant with the school cuts.  

The school board closed with a unanimous approval of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Mechatronics Academy. The Mechatronics Academy is a partnership between HCDE, State Community College, and Volkswagen that provides students with vocational opportunities.

School Board Watch Blog: June 2016

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

  • Community Eligibility Provision for the School Nutrition Program: The USDA required Hamilton County Schools to recalculate their Identified Student Percentage (ISP). The ISP determines the Community Eligibility Provision providing free or reduced breakfast and lunch to schools and students in need. Seven schools lost their funding from the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the 2016-2017 school year including: Allen Elementary School, North Hamilton County Elementary School, Sequoyah High School, Soddy Daisy Middle School, Hixson High School, Lookout Valley Middle/High School, and Snow Hill Elementary. There are still 39 CEP schools in Hamilton County.

Field Trips for the 2016-2017 School Year

  • Tyner Academy, Sale Creek Middle/High School, Red Bank High School, Ooltewah High School and Brainerd High School will be attending sports related field trips.
  • Central High School’s band class will be attending band camp at Berry College.
  • East Hamilton High School’s Advanced Placement Students will travel to Orlando, Florida to attend the Disney Youth Education Series Program.
  • East Hamilton High School will travel to Washington DC to study American History.
  • Soddy Daisy High School’s Robotics Team will travel to Providence, Rhode Island to participate in the Marine Technology for Teachers and Students Summer Institute.
  • Soddy Daisy High School students enrolled in JROTC will travel across Tennessee and Georgia to participate in competitions.

Bid Awards:

  • The Brainerd High School Bistro contract for the Furnish Food Supplies bid awarded to Performance Foodservice for $22,056.99 (funding source: Brainerd High School Internal Funds)
  • Recommended bid award for motor fuel to JAT Oil Company of $31,920.00 for the 2016-2017 school year (funding source: Warehouse Inventory Fund).

Contract Renewals:

  • Approval sought for a contract renewal with Property and Casualty Insurance Renewal from Tennessee Risk Management Trust. The insurance cost will increase by $6,776 per year bringing the total annual premiums to $2,579,602.
  • Approval sought for a contract renewal with EBS Consulting for $6,951 per month for the 2016-2017 school year. This contact provides consultation services for Employee Benefits and Risk Management with no increase from the previous school year.
  • Approval sought for a contract Renewal with PPO Medical Reinsurance of Blue Reinsurance Insurance Company of Tennessee and HMO Medical Reinsurance with CIGNA. This contract provides Stop Loss Insurance Coverage and will increase from $616,558 to $672,048.
  • Approval sought for a contract renewal with GeniusSIS, Inc for the 2016-2017 school year. The Hamilton County Virtual School uses GeniusSIS as a database to enroll students, link students to online courses, report progress, track student-teacher and parent-teacher communication, maintain financial records, provide transcripts, and individual student academic dashboards needed for accountability reports. The contract renewal will cost $5,000 (funding source: Operations of Hamilton County Virtual School).
  • Approval sought for a contract renewal with Educator Software Solutions for the continuance of hosting, maintaining, and providing technical support of our customized Project Coach website. The service costs will increase from $32,400 to $36,000 (funding source: The General Purpose Budget).
  • Approval sought for a maintenance renewal for SearchSoft Applicant Tracking System. The Applicant Tracking System houses applicant and current employee data for HCDE employees and will cost $21,590 for the 2016-17 school year (funding source: IT Department).
  • Approval sought for a contract renewal with Main Food/Non-food Bid File with IWC and the Sanitation/Chemical bid with Tennessee School Co-Op for the School Nutrition Program for the 2016-17 school year. The contracts will cost $87,739.20 in total.
  • Approval sought for the annual software maintenance fee for EDULOG which is used for routing school buses and district planning. The total cost of this service for the school year 2016-2017 is $10,089.00 (funding source: Transportation Budget).

Purchases and Agreements

  • Approval sought to purchase the Annual License, Maintenance and Support for the Student Activity Fund Accounting Software for 2016-17 school year. The purchase will cost $25,236.00.
  • Approval sought for the Memorandum Of Understanding between the HCDE Division of Exceptional Education and Centerstone Community Mental Health Centers. The Memorandum will provide school based mental health services in Hamilton County schools for students exhibiting significant emotional and behavioral challenges. HCDE will not be asked to pay for or bill for any services. All funding is handled by Centerstone.
  • Approval sought for an agreement with the City of Chattanooga Department of Youth and Family Development Head Start/Early Head Start Program. This agreement will establish working procedures between Hamilton County Department of Education and Department of Youth and Family Development Head Start/Early Start Program for the provision of services to preschool children eligible for special education in compliance with Federal and Tennessee State laws and regulations.  No funds are needed or requested with this agreement.
  • Approval requested for a contract with Nova Southeastern University for autism training, professional, and systematic development activities for exceptional education teachers and staff.  The contract will cost $24,100 for the 2016-2017 year (funding source: General Purpose Funds).
  • Approval requested for a contract with The Orange Grove Center. Funds for the 2016-2017 school year will be disbursed in 12 equal installments and will not exceed $1,339,188.10 for up to 45 students. An additional $4,000 will be required to cover additional one-on-one support for each new student (funding source: the Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds).
  • Approval sought for an agreement with Parkridge Valley Hospital for Therapeutic Treatment Services. The cost of the contact will not exceed $25,000 (funding source: IDEA Part B Funds).
  • Approval sought for a contract with Signal Centers. The cost of services is $718,545.30 to be paid in 10 equal payments with proof of services to serve up to 55 students (funding source: IDEA Part B Funds).
  • Approval sought for a contract with The Signal Center Adult Services Program. Total contract not to exceed $12,000 (funding source: Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds).
  • Approval sought for a contract with Mose and Garrison Siskin Memorial Foundation for the 2016-2017 school year. The costs of services are $516,800 to be paid in 10 equal payments with proof of services to serve up to 38 students (funding source: The Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds).
  • Approval sought for a contract with Stellar Therapy Services to provide speech and therapy services as required by Individual Education Plans and supervised by Exceptional Education Administrators. The 2016-2017 funding should not exceed $1,989,972.00 (funding source: combination of funds from Medicaid Reimbursement, IDEA Part B and the Exceptional Education General Purpose Funds).  
  • Approval sought for a contract with Stellar Therapy Services for billing and related administrative fees related to Medicaid reimbursement for therapies and Board Certified Behavioral Analyst services. This contract will be at a rate of 20% of received Medicaid reimbursement with no additional funds needed (funding source: Medicaid Reimbursement Self Funded Account).
  • Approval sought to purchase a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox vehicle from Off State Contract #209 (funding source: Transportation Budget).

Conferences and Consultants:

  • Approval sought to hire consultants for The Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy to work with administrators and teachers to incorporate research-based instructional methods and best teaching practices. Hiring the two consultants will cost $35,364.00 for the 2016-2017 school year (funding source: Title I budget).
  • Approval sought for a professional development program for seven teachers by the Manufacturers Skill Study Council. The professional development will cost $13,860.00 (funding source: CTE Perkins Grant).

Finance:

  • The Assistant Supervisor of Finance recommends that the Board of Education approves the outstanding obligations for carryover into the 2016-2017 year for items that were not received, were partially received, or invoices were not yet available totaling $235,066.98.

Budget:

  • Board approval is needed to amend the 2016 Fiscal Year General Purpose Operating Budget for the attached transfers between accounts. This amendment funds the first part of the teacher and school support device replacement. To see transfers between line items click here. No additional funds are requested.

Budget Amendments:

  • Budget Amendment Appropriation of Fund Balance for Stadium Repairs: Transfers between line items from the Unassigned Fund Balance of $913,600 to Capital Maintenance for stadium bleachers and repairs.

Grant Application Request:

  • Request for the acceptance and approval for the Chattanooga State College Career and Technical Education Advanced Manufacturing Skills and Internship Program totaling $1,000,000 (finding source: Tennessee Higher Education).

Human Resources:

  • All references to the I-Zone have been eliminated due to the uncertainty of the grants continuance. If HCDE does receive additional I-Zone money the previously agreed-upon stipends will be honored.
  • The Collaborative Conferencing agreed the unused sick-leave bonus for retirement notification on or before February 1st will increase from $30 to $40.
  • The following educators are being recommended for reinstatement of tenure status for the 2016-2017 school year: Victoria Bryan, Christopher Closson, Robin Coffman, Douglas Greene Jr., Buffy Hughett, Laura Lewis, Jeffrey McKnight, Sarah Rivkin, Less Smith, Lisa Wilkes and Carmen Womack.

Donations Acceptance:

  • HCDE accepted donations from Commissioner Discretionary Bond Funds for a reimbursement of $2,500 to purchase a school security system for Dalewood Middle School and a reimbursement of $7,435.61 to purchase books for Hillcrest Elementary School.

Second and Final Reading of Board Policies:

  • Board Policy 1.108- Nepotism: Requires revision of the current board policy regarding nepotism in order to comply with current state legislative directives which includes declaring relationships to elected officials.
  • Board Policy 5.203- Non Renewal: Requires written notice of non-renewal be hand delivered or sent to the employee registered mail that that it will be received by the employee within five business days following the last instructional day of the school year (revised from prior to June 15th).
  • Board Policy 5.302 – Sick Leave: Requires revision of the current board policy regarding sick leave in order to comply with current TCRS regulations regarding sick leave bonus payments at retirement.
  • Board Policy 6.701 – Solicitation and Fundraising: Requires revision of current board policy regarding solicitation and fundraising in order to accurately define fundraising activities and to include regulations regarding online fundraising.

 

School Board Recap: May 2016

The May 19th School Board Meeting began with presentations recognizing students across the county for their academic achievement and participation in JROTC and health science units. HCEA and the East Ridge Alumni Association presented to School Board members during the delegations portion of the meeting, which allows the public to address the board directly.

During the regularly  scheduled meeting, board members approved all agenda items which included spending $913,600 on stadium repairs for schools across the county including: East Ridge High School, Tyner Academy, The Howard School, Hixson High School, Ooltewah High School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, and Lookout Valley High School. The board voted unanimously to pull these funds from part of the school system’s fund balance. Board members were adamant that this decision was not making sports a priority over academics but that it was addressing a liability and safety issue for students and community members.

At the end of the meeting, the board also voted to approve of the Interim Superintendent’s salary of $160,000 annually with benefits. Further, they discussed the current job description for the new Superintendent. None of the board members voted to make any changes to the current description and they voted unanimously to authorize a RFQ to be placed for a Superintendent search firm which will allow the firms to submit bids for service.

Next month there is a Budget Work Session scheduled for June 9th at 5:00pm and a regularly scheduled School Board Meeting on June 21st at 5:00pm. We hope to see you there!