BY SARAH GREGORY
Approval of a calendar for the 2014-2015 school year and approval of the purchase of wireless networking equipment for administrative offices were among actions taken by the Greeneville City Board of Education on Thursday.
Board members voted unanimously to approve the 2014-2015 calendar, which includes a full week of fall break for students and teachers at the end of the first nine-weeks grading period.
That break, Chief Human Resource Officer Shelly Smith said, was deemed "best for kids" as it relates to their schedules for standardized and other tests.
The school year will begin on Aug. 6, 2014, four days earlier than the 2013-2014 calendar, with the first semester concluding prior to Christmas vacation.
The calendar was designed, Smith said, with much input from a calendar committee made up of teachers, administrators, students and parents.
Input from athletic and music departments, other school systems, the Greene County School System, and the Greene Technology Center was also considered, Smith said.
The purchase of upgrades to wireless networking equipment for the Kathryn W. Leonard Administrative Office was approved unanimously.
The board approved a total of $17,612 in new access points and switches for the offices.
Assistant Director of Schools for Administration and Chief Technology Officer Beverly Miller said she had originally planned to ask the board to approve wireless upgrades for the George Clem Operations Center as well. However, that portion of the request was withdrawn.
Miller said that, although upgrades at that location may be necessary in the future, she felt the funds originally planned for there would have more impact elsewhere, particularly in classrooms.
Board members also voted on two policy revisions and a therapy services contract.
A policy revision pertaining to minimum nutritional standards for food and beverage items sold in schools was approved on second reading with very little discussion.
A policy revision relating to vacations and holidays for employees was approved on first reading.
The original policy, Smith said, referenced a 12-month year, although different types of employees in the school system operate on different calendars.
Different contract periods include 260 days, 253.5 days, 240 days, and 12 months, Smith said.
The change, Smith said, will add clarity for employees.
THERAPY SERVICES CONTRACT
Board members gave unanimous approval to a contract with STELLAR Therapy Services.
The program, according to Chief Student Services Officer Jeff Townsley, will allow the school system to recoup funds through Medicaid reimbursements for students on TennCare that receive various types of therapy.
The Chattanooga-based company will implement a reimbursement program for the city school system that will return funds to the system to be used in serving special education students in other ways, Townsley said.
During the two-year contract period, STELLAR will help the system's therapists become certified Medicaid providers, allowing the school system to receive reimbursements.
There is no upfront cost for the school system.
STELLAR will receive 30 percent of the reimbursement as administrative fees.
Information provided to the board indicates the district could receive up to $15,000 in reimbursements for the first year, based on the number of students served.