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West Carroll School Board Welcomes New Members, Elects Officers

By Brad Sam brad@mckenziebanner.com © 2020 Tri-County Pub., Inc.
Posted 9/8/20

ATWOOD (September 1) — The West Carroll Special School District Board of Education met Tuesday with a lengthy agenda.The first order of business was to swear in newly-elected board members …

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West Carroll School Board Welcomes New Members, Elects Officers

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ATWOOD (September 1) — The West Carroll Special School District Board of Education met Tuesday with a lengthy agenda.

The first order of business was to swear in newly-elected board members David Hilliard and Jeremy Jackson. Board Chairman William Robinson administered the oath of office to the two, and he also congratulated board member Misty Mitchell on her reelection.

Board officers for 2020-21 were then nominated and elected. Robinson remains chairman. Patrick Lindsey is the new vice-chairman. Hilliard will serve as secretary/treasurer and Jackson as TLN representative.

An amendment to the board’s nepotism policy was approved on a split vote. The change was recommended by Lindsey, and the old and proposed policies were read aloud by Robinson before the discussion and vote.

The old policy states when anyone considered for employment by the director of schools, any relationship between that person and the director, a board member, a school administrator, a county commissioner or any county official shall be made known to the board prior to the employment. Any board member related to an employee of the system, prior to voting on any matter that may affect that employment, shall declare such relationship and certify that the vote will be in the best interest of the system. No person shall supervise or be supervised by a relative. This includes spouses, parents, children, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and anyone living in the same household.

The proposed policy states the board shall not employ any staff member as a principal or administrator who is related to the director or a board member. This shall not apply to persons who have been regularly employed by the board prior to the inception of the relationship, the adoption of the policy or the board member’s election. No person shall supervise or be supervised by a relative. Included relationships are the same.

Mitchell expressed concerns about retention issues with employees and board members being exacerbated by the proposed policy. Lindsey defended the proposal as the way to ensure that board members vote in the interest of the school system and not their relatives. Robinson, whose wife is a West Carroll teacher, expressed appreciation for both sides of the discussion.

Lindsey made a motion to adopt the new policy and was seconded by Hilliard. A roll call vote was taken. Lindsey, Hilliard and Jackson voted for and Mitchell voted against, and the motion was approved.

Junior high softball coach Katelyn Cherry made a request to the board to allow fifth graders to join the team to bring her roster up to an ideal number. She currently has 12 players; 16 is an ideal minimum to reduce the risk of injuries, illnesses and other emergencies affecting the ability to play games. She proposed setting a minimum roster size for all sports and allowing coaches to include players from one grade lower than usual to reach the set minimum when necessary. After some discussion, Lindsey made a motion, which the board approved unanimously, to allow Cherry to hold tryouts for fifth graders this year only to achieve a roster of 16.

Director of Schools Dexter Williams stated he would gather some information and prepare a potential policy to address such issues in the future on a permanent basis.

The approved consent agenda included field trip lists for the school year and accepting resignation letters from board member Kyle Foster and teacher Rachel Johns. Mitchell is seeking candidates for appointment to replace Foster.

The board approved a request from Supervisor Crystal Polinski to add two educational assistants, funded through IDEA.

Also approved was a request by Nutrition Supervisor Janet Winchester for the district to remain a part of the Volco food consortium, which allows a group of districts to receive better rates on food and non-food supplies through bulk bids.

Board members voted to accept an offer from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to acquire right-of-way at two district properties for the State Route 76 project. The total offer for the acquisitions is $52,614.

Board member Lindsey proposed decreasing the threshold at which bids must be sought for purchases from $20,000 to $10,000. Hilliard moved to make the change, and the motion was approved.

The district will purchase three digital temperature screening devices, one for each school, to allow for a speedier process each morning.

Primary school principal Jackie Wester and junior-senior high Assistant Principal Shane DePriest each thanked the board for delaying the start of school to allow for better preparation.

Before adjourning, Chairman Robinson asked the handful of teachers, administrators and other district staff to stand and led a round of applause for their hard work under difficult circumstances. He also thanked his fellow board members for their trust in him to continue as chairman.

The meeting adjourned in just over 45 minutes.

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