BY SARAH GREGORY
Members of the Greeneville City Schools Board of Education approved purchase of carpet to be installed in several facilities, purchase of 190 new computers for classroom use, five policy revisions, and January financial statements during their regular meeting Thursday evening at the Kathryn W. Leonard Administrative Office.
The board also heard a brief report on the 2013-2014 budget process, the director's report from Dr. Linda Stroud, and an update from board member Jerry Anderson's trip to Nashville to meet with state legislators during a recent "Day On The Hill" event.
CARPET PURCHASE OK'D
The board gave unanimous approval to spending $117,885 from capital improvement funds for the purchase of carpeting material. Installation costs will be considered at a later meeting, after the bid process is completed for contracted labor.
Assistant Director for Administration Beverly Miller told the board that floor coverings are "in dire need of replacement across the district."
She then explained the benefits of a new type of carpeting selected for projects at several of the school system's facilities.
Miller said the system was trying to "move away from the traditional roll carpet that requires a pad or adhesive underneath."
Instead, a new type of material that is installed in individual squares will be used in areas of EastView, Hal Henard, and Tusculum View elementary schools and the Greeneville High School band room.
If sufficient material is left over, a hallway at the Kathryn W. Leonard Administrative Offices will also have the new material installed.
Miller says the carpeting comes with a 20-year warranty and does not stain, even after a test in which bleach was poured on it.
Another benefit, she noted, was that some of the installation work can be completed by some school system employees, minimizing the amount of outside labor that must be contracted.
"Obviously, there's significant savings in that we can use our own talented team to do this work," she said.
Installation will be able to take place during the school year, with no need to wait until summer recess.
School board members also approved expenditure of $110,336 from funds in the 2012-2013 budget for the purchase of 190 new computers to replace aging equipment in current use.
Miller said that 90 Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computers will be purchased at a cost of $46,350. Hal Henard, EastView, and Tusculum View elementary schools will receive 25 units each, with another 15 going to Highland Elementary School.
The smaller-sized units, Miller said, are suited for the small-sized hands of elementary-age students.
One-hundred larger Dell Latitude laptop computers will also be purchased, at a cost of $63,986. Greeneville Middle School will receive 40 units. Another 60 will be used at Greeneville High School.
Miller also noted the possibility of some schools' Greeneville Schools In Action (GSIA) parent organizations providing funding for the purchase of additional units.
Five policy revisions were considered and approved on first reading with little discussion.
One revision related to a required change in age of enrollment for kindergarten students. The change will align the school system's policy with a change in state law.
Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, a child must be five years of age on or before Aug. 31 to enroll in kindergarten.
For the 2014-2015 school year and all years after, students must be five years of age on or before Aug. 15.
Other policy changes related to:
* in-service and staff development opportunities;
* updates to match policy with the system's current practices in regard to acceptance of tuition students;
* administrative changes related to the process of assigning students to schools in relation to which zone they reside in; and
* student transfers from one city school to a different school within the system.
Second and final reading on the policy updates will likely be on the agenda at next month's meeting.
FINANCIAL, BUDGET REPORT
Chief Financial Officer Nicole Buchanan gave brief reports concerning the January financial statements and the ongoing 2013-2014 budget process.
Buchanan reported January revenues as $3,191,280. Year-to-date revenues are $13,362,863, which accounts for 54.1 percent of the $24,698,536 budget.
Expenditures for the month of January were reported as $2,403,001. Year-to-date expenditures were listed as $13,123,600 -- 53.1 percent of budget.
Buchanan reported that at this stage in the 2013-2014 budget development process, the system is considering a salary increase of 1.5 percent for certified employees.
She also noted that current revenue projections for the next budget year indicate only one percent growth in property and sales taxes. Those numbers, however, could change as the budget process continues, she said.
Buchanan also briefly discussed potential changes in revenues due to the federal government budget sequestration, which begins today.
Scenarios include a possible five percent cut in federal funds, or no cuts, or reduced cuts of 2.5 percent.
Stroud gave the Director of Schools' report and updated board members about the "Career Pathways" initiative of the Greene Technology Center that was developed in conjunction with the Greene County School System through the Greene County Partnership Workforce Education Committee.
That initiative consists of five pathways to be used as a guide for counselors and administrators to help students and families with career readiness.
The pathways are based on the five most available career paths in Greene County and around the region, which are:
* health science;
* education and professional services; and
* business and finance.
Stroud said the pathways will help the Greeneville school system move forward with even more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives.
She also invited board members to a special new event for the school system and the Greeneville City Schools Foundation.
The first annual CORE Awards event will be held April 4 at the General Morgan Inn for invited guests.
Former University of Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer will be the keynote speaker.
Four new alumni awards will be presented for:
* outstanding young alumni;
* distinguished alumni;
* distinguished service; and,
* outstanding patron.
Stroud also updated the board on other dates to note, including an upcoming GHS band concert on March 3 and next month's Board of Education meeting, which will be held a week early because of the school system's spring break.
Next month's meeting will be held on Thursday, March 21.
DAY ON THE HILL REPORT
Anderson gave a brief report on his recent visit to Nashville as part of the annual Day on The Hill event.
At that event, school board members from across the state visit the state capitol to speak about current issues with state legislators.
Anderson noted that state Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, is carrying three bills concerning school safety measures.
Anderson noted that the Tennessee School Boards Association supports the measures Hawk is proposing, but details of the proposed legislation were not outlined.
At the meeting's start, school board members recognized the special achievements of several students, athletes and teachers.
GHS senior Kaitlyn Sutherlen was recognized for being one of only 15,000 National Merit Scholarship (NMS) finalists.
Members of the GHS wrestling team were recognized for their success in competition as well as in the classroom. The team won GHS' first-ever wrestling state championship and was also named all-state academically for the team's collective grade point average of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
The board also recognized building-level teacher of the year award winners. They were: Amy Brown, of EastView Elementary School; Sara Benson, of Tusculum View Elementary School; Susan Metcalfe, of Highland Elementary Elementary School; Dr. April Leonard, of Greeneville Middle School; Cindy Kelley, of Greeneville High School; Pat Carpenter, of Greene Technology Center; and, Kim Graham, of Hal Henard Elementary School.
Prior to considering action items on the agenda, the board also heard a presentation from Hal Henard Elementary School principal Janet Ricker concerning activities at the school throughout the year.