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Dandridge, Tennessee

March 26, 2012

School Board Proposed Rezoning
Rezoning Finds Dandridge and Jefferson City Students Split Within City Limits
Photo by: Madison Johnson / Madison J. Photography
United States Senator Bob Corker addresses The Jefferson County Republican Party at the Annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner held on Friday night.  The list of speakers at this year's event included Congressman John Duncan, Congressman Phil Roe, State Senator Mike Faulk, State Representative Jeremy Faison, and State Representative Frank Niceley.  See page 7 for more on The Lincoln-Reagan Dinner

School Board Proposed Rezoning
Staff Photo
The Jefferson County School Board held a working retreat on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at Jefferson County High School. The Board got their first look at the proposed rezoning for the new elementary school on Dumplin Valley road. The objectives in rezoning included only rezoning Dandridge Elementary School and Jefferson Elementary School, as well as removing all portables. According to Director of Transportation, Maintenance and Capitol Projects Phagan, they accomplished rezoning while meeting those goals. The result of rezoning finds Dandridge and Jefferson City students split within the city limits of both areas. In Dandridge, students on interior city streets such as Isabell Drive, Mill Street and Hill Street, which are located in the center of the city, are rezoned for the new school. Rezoning in the Dandridge City limits has student school zones separated by Meeting Street, with the left side of the road (when traveling East through town) zoned for the new school and the right side of the road zoned for Dandridge Elementary. Likewise, the area across from the field of Dreams will be rezoned, while those on the same side of the road remain in Dandridge Elementary School. Dandridge Golf Course and Gaby Hills areas are also rezoned, as well as Briggs road.

Jefferson City will experience similar zoning issues, with zoning for the new school splitting George Street and Russell Avenue and continuing on the McDonalds side of the road east through the City proper. Areas that are in closer proximity to the new school will not be rezoned, as they are currently zoned for Piedmont. In all, around 550 students will be affected by the proposed rezoning, many living within a mile or less of their current school zone. Director Phagan stated that issues arose in placing students in appropriate numbers in the various grades. The School Board is expected to vote on the rezoning issue at a Called Meeting next week, so that letters can go out to the parents of students that are impacted by the move. Director of School Edmonds stated that there will be an appeals process ,however the system must be careful in granting approval for appeals. The contact for appeals will be available following approval of the rezoning proposal by the School Board.

New Elementary School Principal Sandra Austin stated that she hopes to have contact with parents prior to the opening of the new school next Fall. Director Edmonds stated that the new school does not currently have funds for playground equipment, however he hopes a sharing of funds can go toward that purpose. The new elementary school, named by the School Board as Mt. Horeb Elementary School, will be known as the Mt Horeb Hawks. The School Board noted that the new elementary school is the first school in 25 plus years that is totally new for the County and that it should be considered a privilege to attend the new facility.

Jefferson County teacher will most likely find no significant changes to their benefits during either before or after retirement. The early retirement incentive will remain for this year, however it may not be carried over in its entirety for the future. Currently, Jefferson County pays incentive and sick pay. The board is looking into the possibility of trimming the early retirement incentive or the sick day balance pay and using those funds to increase teacherís salary. Concerns about the lagging salary for Jefferson County teachers has the board seeking avenues to fund additional pay. Health insurance benefits are slotted to remain unchanged, and there is hope that the vision, dental and life insurance plans can be negotiated by Committee to provide better coverage.

The School Board got a first look at the upcoming budget, though no salary adjustments were discussed. Most departments appear to be holding close to last yearís budget numbers. The Transportation Department is running one fiscal year behind in paying for buses and will propose amendments to catch up to the current year. The system fell behind in payment of buses during the 2009 school year and has been rolling one year behind since then. Transportation will also ask for an amendment for gas and diesel, as they are past due in payments. Though the entire budget picture in not yet available, other than transportation and maintenance, there is, thus far, no excessive increases budgeted for the 2012-2012 fiscal year. The School Board plans to possibility sale or donate, for the cost of moving, the portables at Jefferson Elementary and Dandridge Elementary that are owned by the system. Those that are rented must be brought up to standard and the school system must pay for their removal.

The budget for 2012-2013 and board policy discussion, in regard to teachers, will be continued at the next School Board work session. Rezoning for the new School and Board Policy that continues insurance benefits that are currently in place for both certified and non certified personnel are both on the agenda for vote in a called meeting that will precede the work session.

Budget Committee

DOE Requests Additional $30k for Legal Expenses

The Jefferson County Budget Committee held a Special Called Meeting on Monday, March 19, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse. The Meeting was Called to Order by Committee Chairman Scarlett.  Commissioner Baxley was in for Commissioner Tabor.

Upon a Motion from Committee Member Estes and a 2nd form Commissioner Turner, the Committee unanimously Approved Refunds and Line Item Adjustments pertaining to insurance recovery funds and grants from the General Fund.

Upon a Motion form Estes and 2nd from Solomon the Committee Approved internal transfers concerning the County Debt Service which included line item adjustment per the County Audit (no fund balance impact).

The Jefferson County Department of Education requested a fund balance amendment of $30,000 to the legal expense line to cover legal expenses incurred from lawsuits. The Committee was informed that the Department of Education had previously paid $34,092 in legal and associated fees regarding the Community Tectonics suit and have another $24,220 to date that is being held in billing. The Department of Education would have approximately $3,200 remaining in the legal account after the $30,000 transfer of funds. Director of Jefferson County Finance Helton stated that he anticipates that the Department of Education will required an additional $20,000- $25,000 amendment to cover expenses for the remainder of the fiscal year. The Motion to Approve the request was offered by Estes and 2nd Baxley- Approved with Kesterson voting No.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

Facilities Committee

20 Year Plan in Progress

The Jefferson County Facilities Committee met on Monday, March 19, 2012 at the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse.  The Meeting was Called to Order by Chairman of the Committee Tabor.  Present during Roll Call were Committee Members Longmire, Carmichael, Musick and Griffith.

David Longmire, Director of Facilities for Jefferson County, provided the Committee with an update on the progress of the E-911 Combination Center. Longmire stated that favorable weather has allowed for progress on the project. Among other progress outlined in a update memo was the completion of site grading and foundation. Masonry below the first floor is completed as well as below slab plumbing, electrical and sprinkler and site electrical rough is completed. The second pour of concreted main floor slab will be on March 22. Masonry above the finished floor to start on March 21 and metal wall framing is starting. The estimated completion date is September 2012.

Longmire stated that Trane is doing a audit of County buildings.  He stated that the Workhouse is in need of some work and that the Archives are in need of electric work. 20 year plan is in the process of being developed for review of the Committee.

The Committee will meet proceeding the next voting meeting of the County Commission.  The Meeting was Adjourned.

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