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Board of Ed approves reading curriculum, summer feeding program

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By Beth Braden

If not for a mid-meeting, 45-minute executive session, the Campbell County Board of Education meeting would have taken less than an hour.

The board met in its entirety with attorney Dail Cantrell and secondary education supervisor Larry Nidifer. Eventually, both Nidifer and director of schools Donnie Poston left the session.

The board breezed through its other business.

Winners

Three students won an iPad from Trane after their sticker designs were chosen to appear on their school’s light switch plates.

Abby Grace Mayfield was the elementary winner, Austin Anderson was the middle school winner, and Danna Lee was the high school winner. 

Finances

The board unanimously accepted the $9,990 bid from School and Office Supply for a stage curtain at LaFollette Elementary School. Commmodity Processing from Pilgrim’s Pride and Cargill Meat was also approved.

The walkway canopy project at LaFollette Elementary will be rebid.

Sunbelt was the only bidder and bid $49,536.47. Board member Homer Rutherford wanted to know if the bid could be redone.

“I was wanting to know if since the price is what it is if we can rebid it in the next two weeks?” he asked. “This is legal that we can deny this?”

“Sure,” answered Cantrell.

The board unanimously approved rebidding the project.

The board accepted renewed contracts with Flowers Baking Company for bread, pest control with Cook’s Pest Control, Cox’s Septic Service for cleaning grease interceptors, Campbell County Fire Equipment for hood cleaning and fire equipment and Humitech for humidity control in coolers and freezers.

The board unanimously approved advertising bids for copy paper, food, milk and chemicals, security equipment at both high schools, playground equipment at Jellico Elementary, paving at the East LaFollette Learning Academy and glass safety vestibules at five schools.

Additionally, five budget amendments were approved.

Summer feeding

This year’s summer feeding program will kick off June 3 and run through July 31. It is managed by the Campbell County School Nutrition Program. Students in northern Campbell County will get lunch at Jellico High School. Students in southern Campbell County will go to Campbell County High School.

“I think that’s one of the greatest things the school system does,” said Rutherford.

The board unanimously approved the program.

Reading curriculum

Kindergarten through fifth grade reading curriculum has been approved by the committee and went up for the board vote. The chosen textbook is Journeys by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“I’ve been hearing that a lot of systems are going away from books period and are going to use technology in different forms to do that,” said Board Member Rector Miller.

“I can see us not having textbooks in the future,” Rutherford said.

“They’re talking in the next year or two, and they are right now on the e-readers,” said Rita Goins, materials supervisor.

The expense to move away from textbooks would be very large, according to Poston.

“In order for us just to be able to provide what they call broadband capability for our computers, it’s gonna cost $32,000 just the upfront cost,” he said.

The books were approved unanimously.

Driver’s ed

The board tabled discussion on the Anderson County Driver Training Program.

The training program would come to the high schools in order to administer a driver’s education program. According to Nidifer, the group carries its own liability insurance on its students and provides its own vehicles. Students would be able to take the course for $300.

“We discussed this quite a bit last year didn’t we, about letting somebody come in for-profit?” Lawson asked.

Cantrell agreed.

“I don’t see how that’s different from the Zumba classes or using your gyms for profit,” he said.

Cantrell said the group could be allowed to pass out brochures, but probably shouldn’t use school grounds to conduct their for-profit business.

Miller motioned to table the discussion. The motion passed with only J.L. “Sarge” Collins dissenting.

Elementary school resource officers

The board is still waiting to hear from the state regarding funding for additional SROs within the school system.

“We’re hoping we’ll here something next week, of course to equip the schools with enough personnel to do what we need to do, we’re talking over $400,000,” Poston said. “There’s no indication we’ll get that money [from the state].”

Cantrell said the board should have word from the state in time to prepare the next budget.

“I think you should know it time to do your budgeting for next year,” he said.

Other Business

• A representative from the sheriff’s department is expected to explain the Text-A-Tip program to the board next month.

The school system is planning to begin monthly sessions highlighting a board of education policy each month to help further educate students, parents and the community. April will highlight Tennessee’s education reform acts.