The Cheatham County Board of Education met in regular session Monday night. All members were present.
4th Grade Spelling Bee and Math contest winners were honored to begin the meeting. They include:
4TH Grade Spelling Bee:
Karley Nygren, KSE, 1st place
Alexandra Barnhill, PVE, 2nd place
Jessica Bryan, KSE, 3rd place
4th Grade Math Contest:
Andrew Mayberry, WCE, 1st place
Lauren Moore, PES, 2nd place
George Bull, WCE, 3rd place
Outstanding teacher of the month is Laura Franck, Pegram Elementary.
During the public forum, Tracy Ann O’Neil spoke to the board about “the working conditions of our teachers, our students, the continual shuffling and transferring of school district employees and more importantly the rush of teachers that we are finding that are resigning or being non-renewed for reasons that we deem to be politically motivated”, she said. She added that the turnover shows a “lack of consistency in leadership”, and that it was costing the county monetarily. She then asked, “Why in the world should we support your proposed property tax increase [.61 proposed] when this is what we are receiving in return?”
In a response of sorts, Director of Schools Dr. Stan Curtis sent out an email this week, rebuking some of O’Neil’s comments on turnover and other items. “Fifty-nine certified personnel have resigned since June 15, 2012 until present. The actual percentage is 15 % attrition instead of 25%. The information is found on the Cheatham County Board of Education website under Board Agendas. This is public record. Eight positions are available at Cheatham County Central High School and not eighteen. We have over four hundred applicants for all of our available positions. This is public record.”
O’Neil went on to talk about the merry-go-round of football coaches recently at Cheatham County Central High School, which has left them at this moment, with no coach as football season begins, her sons final season in high school football. The audience was filled with supportive parents who shared O’Neil’s feelings, several of whom spoke out during the forum. She also stated that funds raised by parents and supporters of the football club were missing and she wanted to know where they went.
The board approved several minor policy revisions. This information is available at the Board’s website.
Also approved were increased coaches supplements, (including all sports, choir and drama). The supplements are a percentage of the coach or teachers salary, with the highest being high school football head coach, 20%. The supplements will cost the district an additional $68,000, and although approved by the board, are contingent on the County Commission approving the School Board’s budget.
Also contingent on budget approval was a new pay scale for supervisors, certified and non-certified. That formula will be based on years of service, and level of education.
The tally of the Director’s Evaluation was read into the minutes. According to Diane Proffitt, Dr. Curtis exceeded or met expectations with 95.6% approval. 4.4% was listed as “needs improvement”.
At the end of the meeting when board members are allowed to comment, 6th District Member Brian Chase thanked everyone for their comments, and asked that the Director to find out where the CCCHS football club money went. He also announced that Sharon Kinnard, who has served as the District’s Chief Academic Officer for the past year, is resigning effective June 30th. “That’s very disappointing to me”, Chase said. Kinnard is the wife of Harpeth High School Principal Mike Kinnard.
Dr. Curtis’ response in the email stated: “The monies that were questioned as missing from the football account are actually in two different school accounts. One account is a restricted football account and the other is the quarterback club account. All monies are accounted for in our system. The funds in these accounts are spent at the discretion of the football coach and principal of the school not the central office. These monies were raised in the fall of 2012 and donated to the programs. The school support organization was not official until March 2013. This organization did not exist during the fall when the money was donated. The Tennessee Uniform Account Manual does not allow the transfer of school funds to an outside entity. This is public record.”
The Cheatham County Board of Education meets the first Monday of each month at 7p.m. Their next regular meeting will be held July 1st at 7p.m. in the board annex building on Elizabeth St. in Ashland City.