Goal: Streamline Project Financing;
County Commission Must Approve
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Board of Education approved a resolution on Thursday that, if approved by the Greene County Commission, will transfer $700,000 from the school system's savings to a new Capital Outlay Fund.
The board unanimously approved the request during Thursday's meeting at the Greene Technology Center.
During a recent day-long workshop the board was able to prioritize the various capital project needs, including roofing, HVAC replacement, plumbing and safety improvements.
Director of Schools Dr. Vicki Kirk estimated that these projects will cost the system about $675,000.
By forming the Capital Outlay Fund, the board will not have to wait until the end of the school year to designate the year's savings for capital projects and will not have to wait until summer to complete many of the projects, according to discussion.
The board voted to move the $700,000 to cover these "top priority" projects first, with the understanding that any additional projects must first come before the board.
"I think that's one of the best moves we've made in a long time," Chairman Roger Jones said, explaining that it will be easier for the general public to track their capital projects expenditures.
Board member Kathy Austin expressed her approval of the change, noting that it will help prevent savings on projects from going to pay for other projects, with the money instead automatically going into the Capital Outlay Fund.
Austin was the sole opposed vote to paving the driveway into the new fieldhouse at Chuckey-Doak High School with unspent funds from the construction. Austin cited the need to expend such funds on the system's top priority projects.
Other members of the board argued that the project was also important and would be a natural result of building the fieldhouse.
"I think the money should be spent at Chuckey-Doak," Board member Tommy Cobble said. "It's a mud hole out there. It's just going to wash away, folks.
"I'm wanting something that's needed -- and it's needed now."
Hopson also agreed, cautioning that the road may wash out in the rain or become impassable in the winter.
The board voted 6-1 to approve the project, but chose to rebid it in response to word that the county is taking bids on asphalt.
If the county gets a lower bid than the current market, the system could save money on the project by "piggybacking" on that bid, Jones explained.
PROPANE BID APPROVED
The board also approved bids for propane for a full year, with the understanding that the lines will remain in the county's possession, and the purchase of a delivery truck if it meets the specifications needed.
The bids included:
* Marsh Petroleum for propane gas in tanks of 1,000 gallons or less for $1.59 per gallon;
* Shaw L.P. Gas for propane gas in tanks of larger than 1,000 gallons for $1.69 per gallon; and
* Bo's Auto Sales for a $9,999 delivery truck.
'NO' TO CABLE TV MEETINGS
The board was divided in their vote concerning videotaping meetings to appear on Comcast's public access channel, 99.
Austin questioned if this would be at any additional cost to the board, such as in the need for new microphones.
The board confirmed that the videotaping should be at little to no expense to the board, but others also questioned the frequency at which the meetings would air.
Jones said that the frequency that the meetings played would be at the board's discretion.
However, a roll call vote revealed continued hesitation by some members of the board, resulting in the motion failing.
Members Hopson, Cobble, Kathy Crawford and Austin voted against the videotaping, while Jones, Nathan Brown, and Mark Douthat voted yes.
POLICY REVISIONS, UPDATES
Unanimous votes included ongoing policy revisions and updates recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association.
The board approved the following policy revisions on second reading:
* editorial revisions to Assignment/Transfer and Procedure for Granting Tenure;
* Suspension Practices for Tenured Teachers and Separation Practices for Non-Tenured Teachers, detailing the holding of pay during a pending investigation, as well as other procedural details; and,
* Student Wellness, adding language emphasizing the county's commitment to the CDC's Coordinated School Health program.
Policy revisions approved on first reading included:
* School board meetings, specifying that members can attend electronically for only two days out of the year for work and/or family emergencies;
* Section 504 and ADA Grievance Procedures, requiring coordinator response within 20 days instead of 30 and the adoption of due process procedures;
* Private vehicles, altering the insurance limit requirements to be as set by the Director of Schools and noting that the board assumes no risk;
* Use of Internet, revising the Internet Safety Instruction section and adding a section regarding Social Networking;
* Social media, adding the clause that social media may be used for "legitimate instructional purposes"; and,
* Substitute teachers, detailing payment methods and the application and training process.
The board also approved the following manual revisions:
* Elementary Athletics Policy Procedures, detailing that the total basketball games per team shall not exceed 20 regular season games. "Pre-season and holiday tournaments shall count as two games notwithstanding the number of games in which each team participates in a tournament;"
* Booster Club basketball practice times, setting the beginning at 3:15 p.m.;
* Pre-approved field trips, adding Longview Ranch for pre-kindergarten through eighth grades and CDC; and,
* Fundraising guidelines, allowing one school-wide fundraising event each year and additional events such as suppers, fun days and car washes if there is no pre-sale of tickets.
Approved budgetary items included:
* Title I and Title IIA budget amendment for an increased allocation and carryover budget;
* Pre-K budget amendment;
* 2012-2013 Race to the Top budget;
* S3 School Climate grant;
* participation in the first District Race to the Top grant; and,
* a memorandum of understanding between the board and the state Department of Education for $100,000 awarded for the Coordinated School Health Initiative.
Other business included approval of:
* Sarah Justis as the basketball assistant at Chuckey-Doak Middle School;
* a Chuckey-Doak Middle School Boy's Basketball Pre-Season Play Day fundraiser;
* textbook committees;
* the Greene County Science Fair, proposed to be held March 11 and 12, with a $500 sponsoring request;
* an elementary and middle school basketball tournament on Dec. 26-29 at Chuckey-Doak High School;
* a Greene County Thanksgiving Classic Basketball Tournament Nov. 19-24 at Chuckey-Doak High School; and,
* a revised solar agreement with Terra Shares.
The board also recognized South Greene High School for being named a Reward School by the state Department of education and the Volunteer Auto Club for their contribution to the C-DHS fieldhouse project.
The board also heard an update from the system's reading specialists and congratulated West Greene High School senior Andy Bible for being chosen to march in the 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.