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School Board to purchase bleachers and new buses

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 conference room of the Johnson County Office Building.
Prior to any official business, Morris Woodring, Director of Schools, and Gerald Buckles, Board Chairman, made a presentation to Isabella Dunn, a sixth grader at Roan Creek Elementary. “Izzie’s efforts on March 16th, 2011 saved a young child from receiving serious or fatal injuries,” explained Roan Creek Principal Dana Stafford. “Izzie was assisting teachers with afternoon pickups, under the canopy, when she stopped a young child from running headlong into a moving vehicle. Izzie demonstrated enormous bravery when she jumped in front of traffic to rescue the child.”
Joshua Hamilton, student board member, provided a report of the happenings on the hill. “The National Honor Society blood drive was held on April 14th,” he said, “and we collected 95 units of blood and had 36 first time donors.”
Board members were provided a copy of a proposed cell phone policy for possible implementation at the high school for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. “Ms. Arnold and her staff at the high school feel a formal cell phone policy is necessary,” explained Woodring. The proposed policy, which can be viewed online at www.jchs.k12tn.net, requires students to register phones with the school and prohibits the use of cell phones “during the defined school day.” The policy would require a student and parent signature.
“Cell phones have become a huge issue,” explained Principal Arnold, “and our emphasis needs to be on instruction.” Arnold indicated most of the disciplinary problems were related to the use of cell phones. “We have problems with not only use during class, but harassment and sexting,” she said.
Board member Kevin Long inquired as to the current policy at the middle school. JCMS Principal Emogene South responded indicating the middle school policy was currently stringent with students being required to turn all cell phones off during the school day.
In other action, the board approved the purchase of bleachers for Johnson County High School from Highland Products Group in the amount of $54,091. “This is something that has been needed for quite some time,” voiced board member Bill Gambill.
Woodring made mention of the list of requested inmate labor projects this summer. “Crews are possibly being eliminated in the governor’s new budget, but they should be available through June,” explained Woodring. One of the projects on the “wish list” is the construction of a small concession stand for the use of the JCHS Cheerleaders to replace the older trailer, currently being utilized.
Another construction related issued mentioned was the need for a roof replacement at Shady Valley Elementary School. According to Barry Bishop, maintenance director, the current asphalt roof was put on in 1993. The board is looking to utilize metal to replace the roof. Bids will be solicited in the near future.
The board also voted to purchase a 72-passenger school bus at a cost of $77,977 and a special needs school bus with a wheelchair lift in the amount of $90,130.
Before adjournment Russell Robinson, school finance coordinator, presented each board member a statement of operations for the month of March, and indicated the new budget process was in the very early stages.
In closing remarks, the director of schools informed the board of ongoing problems with CB reception for bus drivers. “We are aware of the situation,” he said, “and we are looking into possible solutions.” While the reception is acceptable between drivers, most cannot accurately reach the bus garage.
Gambill questioned the possibility of a ROTC program for the high school. Principal Arnold voiced her support for such a program; however, indicated finding a space for it would be problematic.
Board member Ann Parsons, who served as a testing proctor during the week, voiced appreciation to the teachers for their extra efforts during Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) exams.
Although the Johnson County Board of Education approved a policy change that would require 20 percent of a student’s final grade to be determined by TCAP tests beginning this year, the Tennessee Department of Education notified school systems they may not receive that data in time. According to a memo from Tennessee Commissioner of Education Bruce Opie, sent in December, the achievement data will not be made available to schools statewide in time to count toward final grades for Spring 2011. New testing window requirements take effect in the 2011-2012 school year that should provide the state time to get that data back to schools prior to the end of the year.
The following personnel decisions were presented by the Director of Schools –
Retirement – Earl Fritts, Randy Brown
Hires– Sandy Cook as substitute teacher for 2010-2011 school year, Lois Wilson as substitute custodian at Doe Elementary for 2010-2011 school year, Alecia Bauguess as interim kindergarten teacher at MCE for remainder of 2010-2011 school year, Christi Gentry as interim kindergarten teacher at MCE for remainder of 2010-2011 school year, Brad Reece as JCMS Seventh Grade Boys basketball coach, Terry Stout as volunteer coach at JCMS. School Nutrition Employees and substitutes for the Summer Food Service Program were also presented.