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Board of Education Meets, Discusses Proceeding With Director Interviews

By Mark Darnell

The Macon County Board of Education held their regular monthly meeting at Central Elementary on April 14th at 6 pm.

Following a prayer and pledge Board Chairman Dale Hix called the meeting to order. He then read a statement about the search process for the new Director of Schools. In the statement he indicated that the members of the Board had received countless calls from the public so the Board decided to slow down the process a bit. Further discussion on how they would proceed would be discussed later in the meeting.

A motion was made by Mr. Case seconded by Mr. Marsh to approve the board agenda as presented. Motion passed.

In the consent agenda, there were six leave requests and two trip requests presented. A motion was made to approve the consent agenda and to include approving the minutes of the previous meeting by Case and seconded by Likens. Motion passed.

The Board then approved hiring four new positions. They were: 

Motion was made to approve a full-time 6-12 instructional Leader/RTI Teacher for Red Boiling Springs School by Marsh seconded by Likens. Motion passed 5-0 on a roll-call vote.

Motion was made to create a testing coordinator/County-Wide Migrant/504 Coordinator for Macon County Junior High by Marsh and seconded by Likens. Motion passed on a 5-0 roll-call vote.

Motion was made to create a new County-Wide English Language Learner teacher position by Marsh seconded by Likens. Motion passed on 5-0 roll-call vote.

Motion was made to create a new Business Technology teacher position for Macon County High School by Case and seconded by Borders. Motion passed on 5-0 roll-call vote.

MCHS Principal Daniel Cook made an appearance request to invite the Board to a Gold Club Reception to recognize high ACT student achievements on May 13 at 5 pm at MCHS.

Members of the Red Boiling Springs FCCLA and Macon County FCCLA teams that competed at their state convention were recognized and many of these students will be traveling to compete at their national convention in California later this year.

Mr. Brian Templeton of the Upland Group made a presentation regarding construction of the new gym at RBS. Some adjustments were suggested at the request of teachers and administrators to the plans and Mr. Templeton discussed the time line as it relates to the lead time of material and supplies available. Mr. Templeton indicated that the plan presented had a rough estimate of $2.7 million and Director Boles indicated that the Board had budgeted $2.85 million for the project from Esser funds they have. A motion was made by Marsh and seconded by Likens to proceed with this project, allowing Director Boles to approve the adjustments mentioned, by getting the plans to the Fire Marshall for approval. Motion passed on a 5-0 roll-call vote.

In old business:

Board Attorney Greg Traylor presented a revised agreement with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). He has reviewed and will send it to them. The Board hopes to have a final agreement finalized by the next regular monthly meeting.

A motion was made by Case and seconded by Likens to accept a bid for paving and striping the Macon County High School parking lot by Rich Sealing at a cost of approximately $27,325. Motion passed on a 5-0 roll-call vote.

In new business:

A motion was made by Case and seconded by Marsh to approve the general purpose budget amendment #5 that totaled approximately $1.1 million which was discussed at the last meeting and is generally procedural. Motion passed on a 5-0 roll-call vote.

A motion was made by Case and seconded by Marsh to approve the general purpose budget amendment #6 that totaled approximately $289,000 for instruction equipment purchase. Motion passed on a 5-0 roll-call vote.

A motion was made by Marsh and seconded by Case to give the RBS FCCLA and MCHS FCCLA $5,000 each to go toward their expenses of attending their national convention. Motion passed 5-0 on a roll-call vote.

The Board collectively agreed to allow Director Boles and Chairman Hix to approve the purchase of new cafeteria tables for Red Boiling Springs School with a targeted price-range of approximately $105,000. This was done with the hope that they could lock in a price and not have to wait another month, in which case prices might increase.

The Board then discussed the idea of using eminent domain to acquire property adjacent to the RBS school campus. Board Attorney Traylor stated that he would need a bit more time to research the process. Before that step would be taken, a motion was made by Case and seconded by Borders to have Director Boles try and negotiate a bid price with the current owners. Motion passed on a 5-0 roll-call vote.

Finally the Board discussed the proceedings for the new Director of Schools search. With many people  voicing opinions to the Board about the process that was used at their last special called meeting they canceled the scheduled meetings for this past Monday and wanted to discuss openly their selections at this meeting. In Chairman Hix’s defense he stated that he used the exact procedures and processes that were used in the last search and hire eight years ago. However the Board felt that they needed to discuss the process in more depth.

A motion was made by Likens and seconded by Case to rescind their previous motion to seat three candidates for a second round of interviews for the Director of Schools position. Motion passed 4-1 on a roll-call vote with Marsh voting no.

Then a motion was made by Case and seconded by Likens for each board member to discuss each candidate that was interviewed and that if a candidate gets at least three votes, they would be brought back for the second round. Motion passed 4-1 on a roll-call vote with Marsh again voting no.

The Board then discussed each candidate that sat for the first round of interviews in the order that they interviewed. The candidates got the following votes: Gammons four (Hix no), Petett four (Marsh no), Duffer four (Marsh no), Carter five, and Belcher none. So Gammons, Petett, Duffer, and Carter will sit for a second round of interviews.

The second round of interviews will be held at the MCHS Auditorium on Tuesday April 19th and will start promptly at 5 pm. Names were put in hat and drawn for order with Duffer sitting at 5 pm, Gammons sitting at 6 pm, Petett sitting at 7 pm, and Carter sitting at 8 pm. 

The Board then selected Friday April 22nd to have a special called meeting to narrow search to candidate to hire. That meeting will be held at the Central Office at 5 pm.

Anyone in the public is welcome to attend both of these meeting to listen. However, only members of the Board and the candidate will be speaking.

The Board then set their next work session meeting for Thursday May 5th at 5 pm at the Central Office and the next monthly meeting at May 12th at 5 pm at the Central Office.

A motion was made by Borders and seconded by Hix to adjurn. Motion passed.

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