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School Board faces angry parents

With the end of the school year on the horizon and graduation scheduled for next month, the Johnson County Board of Education met in regular session on Thursday evening in the lower conference room of the Johnson County Office Building and voted to approve personnel re-elections, non-re-elections, resignations and retirements for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year.
Prior to any official business, Dr. Gale DeGeorge, addressed the board on behalf of several parents regarding the “violent outbursts,” of a sixth grade special needs student at Doe Elementary. “I have been holding my child out of school because I fear for my child’s safety,” she said. “He has put the teacher in the hospital two times. He has punched her, pinched her, kicked her, bit her and pushed her up against a metal door frame,” DeGeorge insisted. She also cited the Board’s “zero tolerance policy” in regards to violence, indicating written and distributed policy mandates a one calendar year suspension “for possession of guns, alcohol, drugs (non-approved prescription drugs), weapons, and/or battery.” She questioned why the student had received only a three-day suspension for the recent altercation involving battery of a teacher.
Board Chairman Howard Carlton assured DeGeorge and those present the situation was being addressed. “Law prohibits us from discussing a particular student in a public forum such as this, said Carlton, “and state and federal law dictates what can be done, but we appreciate you for coming and we understand your concerns.”
Despite Johnson County School’s policies on safe schools and non-violence, discipline procedures for students with special needs override local and state law and are instead governed by federal law, specifically the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For specific information regarding this law, visit http://idea.ed.gov.

After reviewing the professional portfolios, and upon recommendation of the Director of Schools and the respective school principals, the following were officially granted tenure by the board: Brittany Fletcher, Mindy Motsinger, Trista Wilson, Christi Blankenbeckler, Tammy Jarvis, Jenna Rouse, Amber Greever, Greg Reece, Ala Moretz, Mike Taylor and Matthew Bray.

In other action, the board approved the installation of a backflow preventer replacement for the Career Technical Center in the amount of $5,643.88 with Iron Mountain Construction Company to complete the project.

Approval was also granted to accept the recommendation the language Arts and foreign language committee for textbooks for the upcoming school year and to approve the list of summer jobs to be done by inmate labor during the upcoming summer.

Student Board Member Brittany Sluder, who was on a trip as a member of the Johnson County High School Band, submitted the following report: The school year is quickly coming to an end, and there are several events to update. The National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society will be sponsoring a blood drive at the high school on April 27th. Softball, baseball, track and tennis are all in full swing and teams have been competing both at home and away. The band is traveling to Chicago for competition April 7th-11th. The drama club presented The Porter Wagner Show to raise funds for Chile on April 3rd. As the end of the year looms, activities for seniors are rapidly approaching. This year’s prom is to be held on April 24th at RedTail Mountain. The baccalaureate service for this year’s senior class will be held at Bethany Baptist Church on May 25th and graduation is set for Saturday, May 29th.

Before adjournment Russell Robinson, School Finance Coordinator, presented each board member a statement of operations for the month of March, but indicated it was too early in the month to make tax revenue announcements.

The director of schools reminded everyone of upcoming TCAP testing, which is scheduled for April 26th – 30th. “The state allowed us to delay this testing for one week due to missing in excess of 20 days of school during this winter’s inclement weather.”

The following personnel decisions were presented by the Director of Schools –
Resignation – Stacey Reece as Girls’ basketball coach at JCHS, Kenneth Erickson as Special Education Assistant at JCHS
Hires– Kathy Crowder as cafeteria manager for the Summer Food Service Program, Laura Peters as substitute teacher for Mechelle Arney for the remainder of the school year, and Michael Downey as a bus driver. Susan Taylor, Patty Roberts, Mary Slemp, Jean McEwen, and Teresa Robbins as School Nutrition Employees for the Summer Food Service Program.