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School Board rehashes the Saturday school issue

Students can expect some school on Saturday if winter weather hits hard again this season as the Johnson County Board of Education voted three to two to utilize Saturday school after fifteen days are missed and under specific circumstances.
“I met with principals and supervisors concerning this issue,” said Morris Woodring, Director of Schools. “The consensus seemed to be that after missing a certain number of days, possibly 15 to 18, Saturday school should be considered.” Woodring reported, however, that nobody in attendance was in favor of going six consecutive days regardless of the number of days to make up.
A discussion ensued regarding pros and cons of Saturday school. “We seldom miss more than 18 days,” Board member Howard Carlton reminded the board, “although we came close this winter.” Carlton suggested allowing the director of schools to use his discretion in utilizing Saturday school based on the time of year the allotted number of built in snow days diminish.
After more discussion Carlton made a motion to allow Saturday school if a snow day forced a missed day Monday through Thursday, but not if school was dismissed on Friday for inclement weather with the “trigger” being 15 days. The motion was narrowly approved with board members Bill Gambill and Kevin Long voting “no.” The issue will be moot if Johnson County has a mild winter and will not even come into play until 15 days are missed for weather.
In other action, the board approved the purchase of Motorola repeater and radios for the school bus garage in the amount of $11,287, the contract with Doug Cornett for water testing in the amount of $250 per month, and several field trips for the 2011-2012 school year.
The board was given a brief report concerning health insurance premiums for employees. Woodring informed the board of a recent increase in health insurance premiums, a 20 percent jump with the system’s current provider. He also indicated that employees might be eligible for coverage in the state’s health insurance plan. “Eligible state, local education and local government employees may enroll in health coverage through the state group insurance program” he explained. Available options include the Partnership PPO and the Standard PPO. Although the state plan would be an increase in premiums of five percent, it would provide employees more choices when it comes to choosing a specific company for coverage. When health insurance coverage is being changed, it is imperative to remain covered while exploring options. After the explanation, board member Carlton made the motion to approve the changes to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Medical Insurance through December 31st, 2011 only and to cover all school system employees during this time frame. The board will look at other options, including the state’s plan, before the end of the year.
Russell Robinson, School Finance Coordinator, briefed members of the board as to budget status and Lorie Plank, Supervisor of Head Start & Pre-K, presented an informational self-assessment report of the program as recently submitted to the state.
Student board member Lauren Martinez presented an update from the high school prospective and announced the open house scheduled for August 16th and a school assembly with Brian Arnold on August 17th.
The board also approved a one-year extension of the director of schools’ contract.
The following personnel decisions were presented by the Director of Schools:
Resignations – Thomas Stanley as Doe Elementary teacher, Marie Icenhour as MCE teacher, and Teri Angel as JCHS teacher.
Hires – Margaret Wallace as Data Management Coordinator, Sue Ann Tolley and Scott Plyler as Bus Drivers, Brian Arnold as Special Education asst./Bus Driver for JCHS, Rachel Wilson as MCE teacher, John Mast as Math Coach, Mallorie Burniston as Doe teacher, Brian Taylor as RCE Pre-K teacher, Michelle Spencer as JCMS Instructional Asst., Christy Dunn as JCHS Art Teacher, Miranda Horne as MCE Pre-K teacher, Denise Rhymer as MCE ISS substitute, Rebecca Herman as JCHS substitute teacher for teacher on maternity leave, Alicia Smeltzer as JCHS French teacher and cheerleading coach, Whitney Norris as substitute teacher for MCE for teacher on maternity leave.
Transfers – Leon Henley from MCE teacher to MCE Asst. Principal, Mary Ann Robinson from RCE teacher to RCE Asst. Principal, Angie Miller from RCE Head Start/Pre-K teacher to RCE teacher, Nikki Campbell from Pre-K teacher to RCE Head Start teacher, April Lipford from RCE cafeteria to RCE cafeteria manager. Several substitute custodians and bus drivers were also presented.