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Tenured Educators’ Terminations Upheld

By DALE GRAHAM

Dr. Kelly Dodson (English teacher at Sycamore High School), Crystal McCarver (School Psychologist at several schools) and Dale McCarver, (Drama Instructor at SHS) were all dismissed at the School Board monthly meeting Monday night. Former Director of Schools Tim Webb recommended the three terminations before leaving office last month.  Dr. Stan Curtis also recommended that the board uphold those terminations, which they did:

• Dale McCarver’s termination was upheld by a vote of 5 yes to 1 no, (Williamson).

• Crystal McCarver’s termination was upheld by a vote of 5 yes to 1 no (Williamson).

• Dr. Dodson’s termination was upheld by a vote of 4 yes (Tammie Lavender, Greg Horton, Dianne Proffitt and Michele Collins, to 2 no, (William Johnson, Tim Williamson).

The next step is an “evidentiary hearing where both sides can put on whatever proof they want to before an impartial hearing officer”, and then that officer makes a decision whether or not “wrong things were done”, according to Attorney Larry Woods. At that point either party can appeal that decision back to the school board. After that the appeals can move forward to the Cheatham County Courts.

Another Board of Education employee to lose her job in all of the recent firings was former 21 year Kingston Springs Elementary School Secretary Jean Henderson. Jean spoke out at the Public Forum, emotionally stating that she had worked for the Cheatham County Board of Education for 26 years, the last 5 years working at the Board Office as Payroll Clerk. Henderson said she was given no other reason than “budget cuts” for her termination. She told board members that she deserved an explanation, as well as pay for 15 days vacation still owed. “There’s something going on”, Henderson said that she had heard that she was being labeled “the board ‘leak’”, leaking information, but said that isn’t true. “Your leak is still there”, she said. She ended tearfully, saying that she enjoyed her job, but adding that “it’s very, very, very unfair for you to let someone go and not tell them why, it’s wrong … you hurt people, you degrade people when you do that”.

A revision to the board’s policy concerning use of Personal Communication Devices failed on 1st reading by a vote of 4 no (Lavender, Johnson, Williamson and Horton), 2 yes (Collins, Proffitt). The policy will go back to the next workshop for further discussion.

Another revision was approved on 1st reading, policy 4.602 concerning Class Ranking. Before the vote Michele Collins said that there was still work to be done on the policy, “Please do not take this necessarily as the final say so on this issue”, she said.

Policy 1.402 was approved unanimously on 1st reading concerning notification of meetings.

The contract between the Board of Education and Woods and Woods Attorneys at Law was also approved by a vote of 5 yes, 1 no (Greg Horton). Proffitt called it “housekeeping”, and explained that the vote was to put verbiage in the contract that reflected a $500 increase in Woods and Woods’ retainer fee from $1000, to $1500, which was approved already by the board. Horton stated that he still wanted to look at different representation.

The Cheatham County Board of Education holds there regular monthly meeting on the 1st Monday of each month at 7p.m. in the Board Annex Building on Elizabeth St. in Ashland City.

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