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Dandridge, Tennessee

March 14, 2011 www.jeffersoncountypost.com

Jefferson County School Board

The Jefferson County Board of School Commissioners held their regularly scheduled meeting on March 10, 2011 (6:30PM) at the Jefferson County High School Media Center.
The meeting was called to order by School Board Chairman Anne Marie Potts.
Special Recognition was given to Jefferson County’s 3 Teachers of the Year. Jefferson Elementary teacher Lisa Gibson (K-5), Rush Strong teacher Kristine Shelton (5-8) and Jefferson County High School teacher Linda Watts (9-12) were introduced by their respective principals.
An Anti-Bullying presentation was given by Jefferson Elementary School Principal Lynn Husen. Husen estimates that bullying is down 50% on the north end of the county. Schools on the south side of Jefferson County are planning to instigate their own anti-bullying programs this Spring.
The Consent Agenda and Agenda were unanimously approved.
Darrell Helton, Director of Finance for Jefferson County, presented the Finance Reports. He introduced Kathy Smelcer, the new Assistant Deputy of Finance. Helton stated that though he will work closely with the School System, Smelcer will be the liaison to the Finance Department.
Debbie Berry, Director of Exceptional Children Services, updated the Board on guidelines for service animals in the schools. Currently no students are using service animals.
Wayne Qualls, Tennessee School Systems for Equity, informed the Board that BEP financing could be in jeopardy. Jefferson County is one of 82 systems (67% of systems in Tennessee) that is a member of Tennessee School Systems for Equity. Tennessee Schools Systems for Equity is a lobbying group and has requested an audit of BEP and a meeting with Governor Haslam.
The Board unanimously voted to transfer the money for a mechanic - available due to a resignation – to employ a receptionist / bookkeeper for the Maintenance and Transportation Department. The current shop foreman will pick up the extra maintenance duties.
Travel expenses were requested for Kenny Cobble. Cobble was recently hired as the new JCHS Football Coach. Cobble is still under contract at Red Bank High School.  According to JCHS Principal Walker, Cobble is driving to Jefferson County several days each week to oversee off season weight training. Board member Phagan questioned where the money would come from. Chairman Potts stated that she would like to cap the $.51/ per mile requested to a maximum of $2500.00  The motion was made by Board member Phagan ($.51/ per mile with a $2500.00 cap). 2nd Board Member Jarnigan and passed unanimously.
In other New Business, Dr. Edmonds, Director of Jefferson County Schools, requested that the workshop session be a called meeting to deal with proposed cost of additional modulars needed for the freshman academy. Also, repairs to the foundation at Jefferson Middle School would be addressed at this meeting.
In Unfinished Business, the Board heard a proposal on Energy Savings and Education. The board requested that Darrell Helton, Director of Finance, and the County Attorney inspect the contract and return information to the Board regarding their findings.
Dual Enrollment was addressed by Dr. Walker and Dr. Ladonna McFall (Director of Assessment & Curriculum grades 6-12). No progress has been made regarding dual enrollment credits (currently .5 per class) or weighted GPA’s for graduating seniors in search of scholarships. McFall stated that they could not have anything ready until next school year. They will, however, no longer allow eligible JCHS juniors to take college English credit. McFall stated college freshman English (Comp I & Literature) may not meet the standards of High School English III. McFall also updated the Board on new requirements for JCHS AP (Advanced Placement) courses. Currently very few students take the end of the course exam, according to Dr. Walker. Next year each student will be required to take the AP Exam. Exam cost is $87 per test. This fee will be paid up-front. Board members questioned if the cost would be paid for free & reduced lunch students. Walker said provisions were in place to accommodate those with documented need. 
The Proposed School Calendar (Revised) was presented to the board. The calendar contains 6 – ˝ days to accommodate teacher in-service. The days were designed to allow teachers to stay in their home schools for meetings. Board member Randy Bradley made the motion to send the Calendar back to committee to remove the 6 – ˝ days. A second to the motion was made by Board member Annette Loy. The motion was passed with a 6 to 1 vote - Board member Phagan voting “No”.
In other Unfinished Business, the Board discussed the purchase of the Blackburn property (closing date 5/11/11) for the new centralized elementary school and additional purchase of the Franklin property. Dr. Edmonds needed the Board to authorize payment to the Blackburn’s. At the last School Board meeting, the board approved the purchase of 14.9 acres at $14,500 per acre to Albert and Celest Blackburn for their property on E. Dumplin Valley Road. According to Edmonds, the total price included closing costs and removal of Greenbelt Certification. Bradley stated that Greenbelt Certification Rollback is a tax and the Board cannot pay taxes.
The amount of the Removal of the Greenbelt Certification is $1605.00. Edmonds agreed to pay that amount during negotiations with the Blackburns. Bradley stated that taxes are the responsibility of the Blackburns. He also questioned the amount per acre, stating that he felt that $14,500 per acre was excessive. Bradley noted that other similar properties are going for much less money. He said he would be comfortable with around $9,000 per acre. Bradley inquired if there had been a genuine attempt to negotiate the price down. Phagan stated that the price might be excessive to the general public, but it was worth it to the Board because of time constraints. 
Board member Solomon made the motion to authorize Dr. Edmonds to pay the Blackburns $217,210 – however not to pay rollback taxes. Second was made by Board member Vines. The vote was 6 to 1 with Bradley voting “No”.
Recommendation was made to purchase Franklin Property (adjacent to Blackburn property) for future possible expansion of the new elementary school. 7.92 acres at $14,500.00 per acre at a total cost of $114,840.00 in a motion by Board member Phagan and Second by Loy. The vote passed 6 to 1 with Bradley voting “No”.
The Board unanimously voted to authorize the architect and construction company to move on to the Building Phase of the new elementary school.
The Board discussed purchasing the Gerald Patterson Property for the new 700 student high school. Bradley said that a 700 student high school was in conflict with the high school proposed in Plan B. Phagan stated that the 700 student school is only one part of the entire high school project and can be added onto later. Chairman Potts said she sees no conflict with Plan B (adopted by the Board) because of the wording in the motion to build the new high school.
Dr. Edmonds negotiated 45 acres at $12,500 per acre. The location would be 8/10th mile from current school. 
Bradley said that the land was not assessed at anything near the negotiated price. Bradley stated that they were not under the same time constraints with this project and should not rush to purchase.
Dr. Edmonds stated that the purpose of the new high school would be a “stand alone freshman academy”. The motion to purchase the Patterson property for $562,500 was made by Phagan and a Second by Jarnigan. The motion passed with a 5 to 2 vote. Bradley and Loy voting “No”.
A slide show of plans that could be similar to plans proposed for the new high school was shown.
JCHS renovation recommendations are not yet ready for the Board. Architects will share renovation plan progress at the April Board Meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.

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