From left are school board members Chris Blackburn, Cathy Hyatt, Shannon Davenport and student representative Jeran Tenpenny at Thursday's meeting.
Highlights of the monthly meeting of the Cannon County Board of Education held Thursday at West Side School had more to do with school system leadership matters than they did educational issues.
The first order of business on the agenda was the election of a board Chairperson and Chairperson Pro-tem for the coming year.
Board member Shannon Davenport nominated Chris Blackburn for Chairperson. Blackburn seconded her nomination. Blackburn's nomination failed on a 3-2 vote, with Cathy Hyatt, Mike Mayfield and Randy Gannon voting in opposition.
Hyatt then nominated Gannon for the position. Mayfield seconded the motion. Gannon was re-elected to the post, with Davenport voting no and Blackburn passing.
Blackburn was unanimously elected as Chairperson Pro-tem, following a nomination by Hyatt, who held it previously.
Later in the meeting the board discussed its evaluation of Director of Schools Barbara Parker. The Cannon Courier can not as yet report on the evaluation because it was not made released prior to or after the meeting. Director Parker said a copy would be available Friday morning.
While the board said the school system could not afford to give Parker a raise or bonus, it did extend her contract for one year. All members voted in favor of Gannon's motion to do so, with the exception of Davenport.
"I think we still have room for improvement in communication," Davenport said.
Gannon asked Parker what steps she was taking to balance the system's budget next year so that it did not have to take money from its reserve funds again, which it had to do for this fiscal year.
"We are watching our expenses closely," Parker said. "We are trying to be ultra conservative so that we do not have to go into reserves again."
Parker said it might also be necessary to lay off employees if the system's financial situation does not improve.
Another option will be to ask the county commission for an increase in the school's portion of the property tax rate.
"If we don't get some money by next year we are going to have to cut positions and programs," Hyatt said.
In other business Thursday the board:
• Named a Management Team for negotiating with the Cannon County Education Association. Members of the team will be Supervisor of Attendance Dr. Barbara Corry, Special Education Director Pam Sonderman, and board members Davenport and Blackburn. Davenport was voted Chief Negotiator for the Board.
• Named Hyatt, Blackburn and Davenport as delegates to the TSBA Convention.
• Approved CCHS Basketball Boosters’ sale of season tickets, for $50 apiece.
• Approved a bid of $27,527 from Preston Brothers Construction to build a security vestibule at West Side School.
• Approved Jr. Pro basketball's use of Veteran’s Memorial Gym for games during the upcoming season
• Approved a request of Woodbury Grammar School Principal Bonnie Patterson to build a fence around the upper playground at WGS using school funds.
• Approved changes to the Community Use of School Facilities policy. A $100 fee will be charged to non-school entities for use of buildings. Public service organizations are and youth sports and community organizations are exempt from the fee. School employees will pay $50 to use facilities. When school kitchens are used, at least one number of the cafeteria staff must be present, and a $65 fee per employee will be charged.
• Approved a request by Randy Farnsworth, coach of the Jr. Lions football team, to extend the practice field at Woodbury Grammar School with fill dirt that has been made available at no cost, pending a study of the field's drainage situation.
• Approved a bid of $6,350 to conduct the school system's annual audit.
• Chairman Gannon asked the board to consider allowing a comment period for citizens at future meeting after the Board had conducted its business. "Let their voice be heard so they don't feel like we are shunning them," he said.
The next Board Meeting Workshop will be at the Central Office on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 6 PM. The next Regular Board Meeting will be Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 6 PM at Woodbury Grammar School.