By Rebecca Herman
Johnson County School Board members met on Thursday for their regular monthly meeting; all board members were present.
Dr. Mischelle Simcox began the meeting by announcing a change to the recognition portion of the monthly meetings; now each department head will showcase one of the special programs in the school system. For August, Angie Wills recognized the teachers who held the Read to Be Ready Camp this past summer, and two of their most improved students. The Read to be Ready program, which was grant funded, allowed 30 students to have access to individualized instruction and gave access to books. Students were able to attend several field trips and were about to go on a shopping spree at Barnes and Noble, where each student was able to purchase $100 worth of books. Wills presented certificates to the six teachers who taught during the camp and to the two most improved students, Clayton Johnson and Jayden Hood.
Dr. Simcox also honored former student school board member, Marly Eggers, with a plaque of appreciation and introduced the new principal of Johnson County Middle School, Dr. Bob Heath. Dr. Simcox told the board that there are 25 new teachers this school year.
School board member asked the principals about the traffic situation at drop-off and pick-up times. Dr. Simcox said that a situation had been cleared up at Doe Elementary and that traffic was now flowing properly. Gay Triplett, principal at Mountain City Elementary, said that there are signs that explain that parents should not line up until 2:45 pm, but parents still show up at 1:30. Another board member suggested possibly asking the police department to patrol the area during that time in order to avoid cars backing up onto the highway, in order to avoid any liabilities.
An air conditioning unit in Shady Valley Elementary gymnasium was discussed at length at the meeting. The cost would be $26,900 to put a unit in, but windows would have to be taken out, which would alter the look of the building as well as taking away all the natural light that is in the gym. Board member Kenneth Gregg expressed concern about construction being done while school is in session, as well as the cost effectiveness since there are a small number of students at Shady Elementary and the enrollment projections do not show an increase in enrollment. Dana Smith, principal at Shady Elementary and Board Chairman, Kevin Long, explained that the gym is not only used by students, but is also used by the community several times a year. Gregg suggested that Barry Bishop, Director of Transportation, “look into some different options” for an air conditioning unit. The board made a motion to table the decision until other options are considered.
Chase McGlamery, student school board member, told the board that, “the school year started off very smoothly,” and that the volleyball and football teams are prepping for their first home games. McGlamery also updated the board about the Johnson County High School gym. “The new gym floor is in and looks great, we are continuing to upgrade our sound system in the gym as well.” The juniors at the high school are now required to take an ACT prep class and recently these juniors took a practice ACT in order to prepare for that class.
Vice-Chairman Howard Carlton, asked for an update on the bridge project; Bishop explained that the bids would be placed in September and that the project could be done during winter months because the pieces are prefab. It was also announced that the Paul H. McEwen sign would also be fixed once the construction of the bridge is finished.
The next board meeting will be September 14 at 6pm.