Zoning Appeals Dominate School Board Meeting

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The Cannon County Board Of Education spent most of its regular monthly meeting at the Cannon County Courthouse Thursday (Aug. 11) hearing various appeals.

All board members were present for the meeting with the exception of Cathy Hyatt.

The Board at its last meeting voted to adopt a no transfer policy, meaning that students who are zoned to a specific school must attend that Cannon County School. Some students were attending schools outside of their designated zone last year.

The board denied Gina McCutcheon's request for her child to attend Eastside School. McCutcheon's home is zoned for Woodland School, a grammar school she states is 12 miles away. Eastside is closer to her as it is only around three miles away.

The board denied Melody Chatwood's request for her child to attend Woodland School. Chatwood is zoned for Eastside; however. she says it would be more convenient for her child to attend Woodland School as she works more than 50 miles away and after school care is a concern.

The board approved Holly Parker's request for her child to attend Woodbury Grammar School. Parker explained to the board that when she bought her house, the realtor specifically stated that the zoned school for the neighborhood is Woodbury Grammar School. The correct zoned school was Woodland, but since she was sold property with incorrect information, the board felt it was unfair to make Parker take her kindergartner out of Woodbury Grammar.

A first motion of denying the request failed. The next motion was to approve the move due to Parker being misinformed by the realtor. Board member Mike Mayfield was the only member opposed to the action and the request was granted.

The board denied Diana Shapiro's request for a waiver of the out of county school fee. Shapiro stated that her children went to Auburntown School and that she rented a residence in the school zone. However, Shapiro was forced to move and with some help found a house on Marshall Creek Road. The house is at the dead end of the road and is considered to be in Wilson County even though it's on the Wilson and Cannon County Line.

Shapiro noted that she paid her wheel tax and her tags are registered in Cannon County. The Board denied the request to waive the out of county fee. Board Member Chris Blackburn passed on the vote but the rest of the board voted yes to deny the request.

The board approved Harold Whitworth's request for his child to attend Woodbury Grammar School. His child is diagnosed with diabetes and has a nanny that lives in the zone for Woodbury Grammar School. Whitworth lives in the Eastside zone but with the way schedules have been it's easier for this child to go to Woodbury Grammar so his Nanny can help with medication. The board approved the transfer only because of the child's medical condition. The transfer will be reviewed yearly.

In other board action, the board approved Woodland's PTW President Dena Thomas's request to put a low voltage spotlight on the statue they recently dedicated to Rhonda Martin and on the rock sign in front of the school.

Auburntown Principal Melinda Crook approached the Board to ask permission to apply for a $10,000 valued grant. Of that amount. $7,463.91 of the grant will be money used to purchase new P.E. equipment through the SPARK program sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield. If awarded there will be a circulum kit as well as $1000 awarded to the school. The paperwork for the grant has to be filled out by Monday and they will be informed of the awarding of the grant in September. The motion passed.

Cannon County Director Of Schools Barbara Parker reported the cooling tower has been completed and things have been running fairly smooth. Three rooms and the gym are currently without air but is being worked on.

CCEA Contracts were discussed. Parker brought up three items on the contract to consider to follow. One was an automatic deduction of member dues from payroll. The next item was severance pay. Those who have retired will recieve $100 per year.

The third item was sick leave bank. A teacher was in a serious accident and had used up all her sick days prior to the accident. Since she was a member of the CCEA, she wanted to look into seeing if there were any days available through the Association's accumulated Sick Leave Bank. A motion was made and passed to cover the three items presented by Barbara Parker for this year.

Shannon Davenport and Kathy Hyatt have been nominated to the Sick Leave Bank Committee. The motion passed.

The bridge construction next to the High School will continue until September 2012. A sheriff's deputy is helping route traffic through Kimela Drive which eases up congestion.

Chairman Randy Gannon went over the Director's Contract. Parker has two years left of the contract and instead of the bonus that she could recieve would like to add more years to her contract.  The motion was made to table the matter until all board members could be present to go over it. It will be brought up in September's meeting.

The next board workshop will be at the Central Office September 6th with the next board meeting on September 8th at the Cannon County Courthouse. The workshop and meeting will both start at 6:00

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Members Opinions:
August 12, 2011 at 5:16pm
So sad that the school board has nothing to do but cause problems for parents who work or have difficult situations to handle. Let's just vote them all out. They are really just needing to go home and stay. Let's get some new ideas in the school board and new people. I am sure Ms. Parker will be a permanent fixture also by sacrificing her bonus to keep her job!! I am not a parent affected by the zoning but I sympathize with those who it does hurt. By the way, what I read not long ago, was that NO transfers would be accepted at all. Maybe it's just who you know, OR who you are kin to in this county.
August 12, 2011 at 10:18pm
I agree with junebug. We all read that NO transfers would be accepted. I can't believe that the board (all but Mr. Mayfield) thinks its ok for one child to go to a school that is 12 miles away instead of one 3 miles from their home. So they were denied. But they accept another since they were given the wrong school name from a realty? Are you serious?! Your right junebug..its who you are and who you are related to in this county.
August 13, 2011 at 2:13pm
Sorry, I do not agree with you both. They have policies put in place to balance schools, they have to start enforcement, or otherwise, why do you need policy? The school board is doing a great job, maybe you should run for the office. I personally know many of the school board members, I would love for all of my grandchildren to go to one school, it would be convenient for me. I have never asked, and if I did, I would be denied. So, it is not who you know. Rules are just that, Rules. We are all subject to rules that's why we live in a civilized society.
August 13, 2011 at 9:06pm
What's your point? There are many people with the last name of Parker in Cannon County. Should the board discriminate against people named Parker?
August 13, 2011 at 10:28pm
@TnT, lots of folks moving in to Cannon County with school age children or looking to start a family here check where their children may be going to school. Sometimes, they buy a home in the area that they believe to be in a area of a certain school. If the realtor states, that home is zoned for a certain school area they expect it to be where the realtor said. Or they could possibly have a lawsuit against the realtor. I agree that the realtor made a mistake for telling them that without checking with the school system. My point was simply, I don't believe they would make exemptions for some people just because of who they are. Just like the child with a medical challenge, there has to be room for some compromise on a case by case basis, and I do hope they will make fair judgements. I would never want to be put in that position of having to do their job.
August 13, 2011 at 10:47pm
The point is the rules should be enforced for all! Not just for some! Medical reasons we understand. As for the realty stating the wrong school...that is just bull.
August 14, 2011 at 5:13am
Doesn't seem all that surprising that a real estate agent would me mistaken in knowing the school zone of a house they were selling.
August 14, 2011 at 8:40am
Exactly! They should check with the school system to see what school zone they live in. We had to when we moved here. So I don't understand how the board thought it was fair to ok their request. Because like you said Kevin...It's not so surprising that a real estate was mistaken in knowing the school zone of a house they were selling.
August 14, 2011 at 12:10pm
"We had to when we moved here."

You did, but you didn't "have" to.

"So I don't understand how the board thought it was fair to ok their request."

They have big hearts and an abundance of compassion and understanding.
August 15, 2011 at 7:24pm
I am really confused about the board members mindset. This isn't brain surgery. The McCutcheon family wants to move their child from Woodland to Eastside and the Chatwood family wants to move their child from Eastside to Woodland. Common sense tells me that you could take care of both of their request and keep the enrollment numbers the same at both of the schools. What's so hard about that? It appears that the board members are trying to take the human element out of their job.
August 19, 2011 at 2:10pm
I have 2 children in this school system and I am puzzled by the politics that take place in this small town. My opinion is they should have granted Ms. Chatwood her appeal for the following reasons...she has done so much for the schools and Mr.Gannon knows this. For one, she has committed her time and money to help with the color guard last year and she did not have to. She also donated 100 boxes of food to the needy families in the community at Thanksgiving. I don't personally know her but being a parent and observing, I have to pat this young lady on the back as my child who attends the high school knows her daughter personally and she is an awsome person and her parents have molded her into a wonderful young lady. With that said, any school that accepts her son should be honered to have parents that raise thier children like they do. I don't know what it will take for the board to look at all aspects of this situation but they are just wrong here! From what I see, there is no doubt that she will fight this and all I can say is I hope the board will help this young lady. Oh, and one more thing to ponder....Hillary, do you know where Bill is? Just saying!
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