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School Board meets January 13

The Haywood County Board of Education met in regular session on Tuesday, January 13. Chairman Harold Garrett conducted the meeting, and board members Allen Currie, Greg Vanstory, Olivia Farrington and Harrison Jones were in attendance.

Superintendent Teresa Russell opened her celebration of Haywood County Schools talking about two classrooms from East Side School being the first visitors to the newly restored Flagg Grove School at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center earlier in the school year and experiencing a class like that of a one-room school house that Flagg Grove is. Then recently, Nicole Johnson’s class from East Side had the opportunity to visit the Heritage Center and their visit will be a part of a program called “Tennessee’s Black Heritage,” in February airing on WKRN-TV in Nashville. Mayor Bill Rawls joined them at the center. Host for the day was Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Director of the Delta Heritage Center.

Mrs. Russell also talked about the HHS Tomcats and their outstanding record of 17-2 for the basketball season so far. She also reported that several Haywood County School teachers will be presenting at a Best Practices in-service training in Jackson, and HMS Principal Yvette Blue will be participating in a Panel group in a meeting in Nashville.

Board members approved an out-of-state visit by the Haywood Middle School Basketball Warriors to Oxford, Mississippi, on February 21 to watch an Ole Miss basketball game. They also agreed to re-apply for the TSBA Board of Distinction Award that they have held for many years. It must be renewed every several years.

Mrs. Russell asked board members to change the February board meeting from February 10 to Thursday, February 12, because she will be out of town at a meeting.

Board members approved the appointment of Dr. Samuel Carney to the Disciplinary Hearing Authority due to the resignation of Don Sims, who left Haywood County Schools to take a position with the State.

Next on the agenda were Day on the Hill agenda items. Board members approved a list of items to be discussed with their legislators when they visit Nashville on February 17. The items approved for discussion were:

(1) Anti Vouchers – public money funding private education is not what the funding bodies for LEAs (Local Education Agencies) had in mind when they created the tax base that currently funds schools.

(2) Anti-Statewide Authorizer – LEAs must have some say in the formation of a charter school, which plans to operate within their district.

(3) Anti-Elected Superintendent – Elected Superintendents do not report to any governing body; therefore, the motivation for collaborative decision-making does not exist. The pool for individuals qualified to run for office is extremely limited; therefore, many systems would be denied the ability to seek the best fit for their academic needs. When politics are brought back into the decision-making process for superintendents, jobs and finance are often driven by the individuals with the most power and not the most qualified opinions.

(4) Teacher Licensure – We generally believe that an accountability system that identifies teachers that are performing at an unsatisfactory level is appropriate and necessary; however, such a system should be associated with employment and not licensure.

(5) Local Control of Schools – We concur with TSBA that local boards of education are the best equipped and informed to make decisions to address the needs and challenges of their local schools. TSBA opposes any efforts to diminish or impede upon this local control.

(6) Fees for Inspection of Records – We concur with the TSBA that the public’s ability to inspect records must be weighed with the burden on staff to comply with open records requests and supports legislation to allow for reasonable fees when LEAs must create numerous documents and/or expend several man hours in order to comply with a request for inspection.

(7) Authorizer Fees for Charter Schools – We concur with TSBA’s support of legislation enabling LEAs to charge reasonable authorizer fees of charter schools to ensure an appropriate level of review and oversight.

Before the meeting adjourned, board members and guests heard an overview of the school system’s technology and activity in the technology department. Board Chairman Garrett requested a monthly report on technology.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, February 12.