March Board meeting packed with news

Mr. Bobby Henderson, TSBA Southwest District Director and Chairman of the Hardeman County Board of Education, presented the Board of Distinction Award to the Haywood County School Board. “They have achieved the highest level,” Mr. Henderson said. Pictured are (from left) school board members Allen Currie and Harrison Jones, Mr. Henderson, school board Chairman Harold Garrett, HCS CFO Larry Livingston, Superintendent Teresa Russell, school board members Olivia Farrington and Greg Vanstory, and Executive Administration Assistant Debbie Benard.

The March 14 Haywood County School Board meeting marked the last time the board meeting will be held on a Tuesday. Beginning on April 13, the school board will meet on the second Thursday night of each month. The board approval came after receiving a request for the change so that board members and other community members could attend City of Brownsville Board meetings, also held on the second Tuesday night of each month. This approval was just one of many that filled the action-packed meeting.

To open the meeting, Superintendent Teresa Russell celebrated Haywood County Schools. She reported that Anderson and HES celebrated Dr. Seuss Week recently with an emphasis on reading. She also said that Cub Talk Tuesdays at Anderson was a big success this week with more than 50 parents attending. HES and East Side students are “dressing for success” one a week to give them a sense of pride in themselves and their schools. She also said that several East Side students made a presentation about their Leader In Me program.

Mrs. Russell said that the eighth graders registered for ninth grade, and that East Side and Haywood Middle School were holding Saturday Booster Camps, to give students who want to participate extra help in academics. HHS DECA students will be going to state competition this week, and Mrs. Russell gave kudos to members of the HHS Lean on Me Club and the Youth Leadership group for helping with the new community park on Jefferson Street. She also reported that the REACH Academy at Sunny Hill has started its Operation Success program and are taking students to visit school campuses and having speakers to help them decide what they want to do after graduation. Sixteen students were present at the board meeting to talk about the Education Equal Opportunity Project Save-A-Student Leadership & Development Conference that they attended in late February.

The first order of business was the Board of Distinction Award presented to the Haywood County School Board by Bobby Henderson, TSBA Southwest District Director and Chairman of the Hardeman County Board of Education. He commended the board for their performance and said that this award is given to boards based on their planning, policy, procedure and board level. “They have achieved the highest level,” Mr. Henderson said. The Haywood County School Board first received this three-year distinction in 2000.

Also school board members unanimously agreed to sign a Publicly Funded Vouchers Resolution that “opposes any expansion of the special education voucher program as well as any new legislation that would divert money intended for public education to private schools.” This resolution came from the Tennessee School Board Association as a sample to be used by local school boards to let the state legislature know their stand on school vouchers. Haywood County School Board members also agreed to ask the Haywood County Commission to sign another copy of the resolution in support of the school board’s opposition. (To read the resolution, click on the Voucher Resolution below.)

School board members also agreed to close school on Thursday, March 16, so that students, faculty and staff and families may attend the state basketball tournament in Murfreesboro when the Haywood High School Tomcats will play Brainerd from Chattanooga at 10 a.m. If the Tomcats win, schools will also be closed on Friday, March 17.

In other business, Superintendent Teresa Russell recommended tenure for 11 Haywood County Schools teachers, and board members approved this measure. The HHS AFJROTC was approved for out-of-state travel to conduct a Curriculum in Action trip to St. Louis, Missouri, April 28-30. The request for this trip came from Lt. Col. Myron Stamps, AFJROTC Instructor. Also, GEAR UP Site Coordinator Jackie Whitten requested to take eight students to Austin Peay State University for a Youth Summit June 13-16. Board members approved this trip.

Superintendent Russell received approval to sign a Letter of Commitment to allow TRANE to conduct an Investment Grade Audit, which is an energy savings report for the school system. The next step is to send this to the Haywood County Commissioners for their approval.

Board members approved Policy #6.411 about Student Wellness that was recommended by the Tennessee School Boards Association. The new wording in this policy better aligns it with state requirements and has a new section that addresses record keeping.

The next approval was for the 2017-18 Haywood County Schools calendar. Teachers will attend faculty/staff in-service July 31 through August 5. Students begin school one-half day on August 7. Fall break is October 16-20, and the Thanksgiving Break is November 22-24. Winter break begins with one-half day on December 20 and goes through January 3. Teachers will attend Professional Develop and Administrative Days on January 4 and 5, and students return to school on January 8. Spring break is March 12-16, and the last day of school is May 25. Summer school was also approved for May 30 through June 23. (Click on 2017-2018 Calendar on the website front page or go to the Calendar Page to see or print out the entire calendar.)

CFO Larry Livingston reported that he would have the school’s preliminary budget ready at the next board meeting. He said this is in response to the County Commission’s request for all county budgets to be turned in by May 1. He said this would have to be amended later because there are state and federal funds that they don’t know about until later in the summer. Board members approved budget amendments, and agreed to set Tuesday, April 18, as the date for their school board retreat in Jackson.

In response to Superintendent Russell’s request, Mrs. Yvette Blue, Associate Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer, gave an extensive report on the Department of Curriculum and Accountability.

The next school board meeting will be held on Thursday, April 13.

Voucher Resolution