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Johnson County School Board approves resolution opposing vouchers

Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox and Herbie Adams, CTE Director (right) honor Lester Dunn as Employee of the Month.

By Rebecca Herman

The Johnson County School Board members met on Thursday, April 13 for their regular monthly meeting; all board members were present.
April’s employee of the month was chosen from the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center at Johnson County High School. Lester Dunn, who works as the night security guard was honored. “He is always there for our teachers and students regardless of the need, from unlocking or jumping off cars to making sure that we are secure at night, Lester is there. Lester is definitely one of the most faithful and loyal employees that we have and we are very fortunate to have him,” said Herbie Adams, CTE Director and assistant principal.
Also honored were the CTE students who had just come back from the FFA state convention. Receiving state FFA degrees were Philip Dugger, Austin Gentry, and Taylor Long; Long also received an East Tennessee Star in Agribusiness. Rebekah Dugger was the East Tennessee winner in Proficiency in Diversified Horticulture and Nominating Committee Selection for Tennessee State Officers, and Dawson Cress was the East Tennessee Winner on Proficiency for Specialty Animals (Aquaculture).
The board approved a resolution to oppose any legislation to create voucher programs in Tennessee and briefly discussed the importance of having the policy that deals with charter school requests. “We did not get an application for any charter schools, but if we receive one, we know the procedures and steps,” said Dr. Mischelle Simcox, director of schools. Simcox also said that she and the board appreciated Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons coming to March’s meeting and showing support in the disapproval of a voucher program.
The board also approved the purchase of Extreme Networks tech support and warranty replacement service using the ALCOA City Schools purchasing cooperative agreement. Rob Sutherland, Technology Coordinator, explained that the contract has not been renewed in previous years, in order to save money. This would be a one-time charge for a one-year contract. The board approved the request.
Next, board members approved the summer work list and an alternative teacher’s salary schedule. Dr. Simcox asked several administrators how many teachers had come forth who were not happy about this new schedule. They explained that only a handful of teachers did not like it. Overall, teachers were pleased because the earning potential would be greater, especially after the 20-year mark, which previously had been capped at 20 years. Now teachers have the opportunity to increase their salary every year based on evaluation scores.
Student School Board Member, Marly Eggers, spoke next. Eggers told the board that the juniors had just received their ACT scores and that the average score had increased from last year, with the average score being 19.32, “We had more than 50 of them score over a 21,” said Eggers. “We are very proud of our juniors.” The National Honor Society had their spring blood drive on April 5 and was able to get 120 units of blood donated, which exceeded their goal of 105 units.
Eggers also announced that since school ends in four and half weeks, there are many end of the year activities, including the National Technical Honor Society inductions on April 19; the FFA Ag Olympics on May 5 followed by the 41st FFA Awards Banquet and the Student Council Banquet May 8.
There was an addendum to the minutes for the approval of a purchase of cabinets for the CTE house in the amount of $16,900 from Marshall’s Custom Cabinets; this price includes the cabinets and having them set. Adams explained that there were three bids and that they wanted to go with Marshall’s based on the price and quality of work that Marshall’s has previously provided. He explained that the money will be taken out of the CTE house fund. The board approved this request.
Dr. Simcox ended the meeting with some upcoming important dates. JCHS Prom will take place on Saturday, April 29; Presidential Academic Excellence Awards, May 1; Teacher Appreciation Day, May 4; students last full day is May 16 and the last half day is May 18, with a teacher workday on May 17. JCHS Graduation will be Saturday, May 13 at 10am.
The next school board meeting will be May 11 at 6pm.