School board nixes school transfer

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By TONY STINNETT/ Courier Sports Editor

Members of the Cannon County Board of Education generally were in agreement and unanimously approved a number of items on the agenda of the regular monthly meeting Thursday (June 13) at Woodbury Grammar School.

The Board; however, did reject one item when the Grant family’s transfer request from East Side to Woodbury failed for lack of a second. Bruce Daniel made the motion to permit the transfer; however, no fellow board member offered a second.

Roy Parker then made a motion to deny the transfer, which was seconded by chairman Randy Gannon. It passed 4-1 with Daniel objecting.

The Grant family has four children. Three attend East side and a fourth just recently excited the pre-K program at Woodbury Grammar, where he attended as a special needs child. Because the child with autism attends Woodbury Grammar, the Grant family petitioned the Board requesting a transfer for the other three students to Woodbury Grammar instead of having the children in different schools.

“Could the needs of the (special needs) student be met at East Side,” board member Nathan Sanders asked?
Pam Sonderman, special education director, told the Board that the needs of the student could be met at East Side; however, she also pointed out the student with autism would likely regress in a new school setting.

“When I was campaigning I was told this job would be difficult and this is one of those times where it is a very difficult decision that has to be made,” Sanders said. “I was also told board members have two primary responsibilities. One of those is to make policy and the other is to set a budget. We have a policy in place that deals with transfers. It has been explained that student’s needs could be met
at East Side.”

Board member Roy Parker said he was concerned allowing the transfer could result in having to hire an additional teacher.

“What concerns me about this is we may have to end up hiring an additional teacher if the transfer is allowed,” Parker said. “The school is already almost overcrowded.”

Director of Schools Barbara Parker said there are currently 60 students in K-through-3 classes at Woodbury Grammar. That could reach 66 students without splitting (to add an additional teacher), Parker said.

“We don’t know what August is going to bring with people that move in over the summer,” Parker said. “Any of those K-3 classes could split at anytime.”

Parker said an additional teacher would cost approximately $50,000 annually with benefits. East Side currently has no more than 13 or 14 in any one K-3 class, Parker said.

In other business the Board approved the Food bids for the 2013-14 school year; approved the ESEA/IDEA application and budgets; approved a grandfather clause for kindergarten entrance for the 2012-13 Pre-K students; approved a bus bid for Mid-South Bus Center for $84,910, which was the low bid; and approved for Woodland Principal Kim Parsley and West Side Principal Karen King to have permission to have fences erected at their respective schools.

The Board also approved an athletic trainer services agreement, 4-1, with Sanders opposing.

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