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KNOX COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
REGULAR SESSION
February 13, 2019

MINUTES


 
The Knox County Board of Education met in Regular Session on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 in the Main Assembly Room of the City-County Building at 400 Main Street, Knoxville, Tennessee.  The meeting could be viewed in its entirety on the video located on the Knox County Board of Education website at knoxschools.org.  All supporting documents were posted with the agenda on the website.
 
Present:
Evetty Satterfield, District 1  
 
Jennifer Owen, District 2  
 
Tony Norman, District 3  
 
Virginia Babb, District 4  
 
Susan Horn, District 5  
 
Patti Lou Bounds, District 7  
 
Mike McMillan, District 8  
 
Kristi Kristy, District 9  
 
Hannah Selph, Student Representative  
Absent:
Terry Hill, District 6
Vice Chair Horn presiding
             
1   A Moment of Silence was observed followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag led by Ms. Owen.
             
2   Announcements
 
  • The Superintendent's Evaluation Committee would meet on Friday, February 15 at 11:00 a.m. in the Andrew Johnson Building Mezzanine Conference Room.
  • The Joint Education Committee was scheduled to met on Wednesday, February 20 at 4:00 p.m. in the Andrew Johnson Building 1st Floor Boardroom.
  • Several Board Members would be attending the Tennessee School Boards Association Day on the Hill event February 18-19 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Nashville, Tennessee. This annual event gave Board Members a unique opportunity to meet with state legislators regarding matters relating to education.
  • Knox County Schools had recently been closed due to widespread illness and Superintendent Thomas was invited to share information regarding that decision-making process. Superintendent Thomas stated that any decision to close schools made some people glad and some people mad. He assured that these types of decisions were not taken lightly and involved multiple factors such as student and staff attendance rates, substitute availability, district student competitions, and other school activities and events.
  • Ms. Horn noted that the special recognition of bus drivers was listed as the last item on the agenda prior to the time of Public Forum. She asked for flexibility in the time frame to allow plenty of time for bus drivers to arrive at the meeting following their afternoon routes.
             
3   Changes to the Agenda
 
  • Item 5C8 with withdrawn.
             
4   Approval of the Agenda
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Mike McMillan
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
5   Consent Agenda
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Virginia Babb
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
A   Payment of Bills
             
B   AI-5656    Approve Minutes of Meetings
             
C   Items/Contracts:
             
1   AI-5623    Approve 36 month lease of 14 new Nissan Altima Driver Education vehicles from ACME Auto Leasing LLC via State Contract (SWC #222 Vehicle Leasing) at an annual cost of $66,128.16, for a three-year total of $198,384.48, using Driver Education general operating funds
             
2   AI-5617    Approve request of Maintenance and Operations Department to purchase two (2) used vehicles up to $50,000.00 using Maintenance and Operations general operating funds
             
3   AI-5662    Approve request of Print Services to purchase equipment at an approximate cost of $18,820.00 using Print Services general operating funds
             
4   AI-5620    Approve request of Bearden Middle School to make lighting upgrades to the auditorium up to $19,950.00 using Skilled Services Quality Construction, LLC (per term contract) using internal school funds
             
5   AI-5624    Approve Group Sales Agreement with Hilton Knoxville for space and catering services for Carter Middle School's 8th Grade Prom on May 11, 2019 at a total estimated cost of $3,900.00 using student ticket sales
             
6   AI-5625    Approve request of Farragut Primary School to purchase technology up to $15,969.79 using internal school funds
             
7   AI-5626    Approve request of Fort Sanders Educational Development Center to purchase technology up to $11,881.00 using internal school funds
             
8   AI-5627    Approve Edthena Subscription Supplement to R3 Collaboratives Website for provision of video instructional coaching services for Fulton High School for the term of January 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 at a cost of $1,500.00 using school fees - WITHDRAWN
             
9   AI-5628    Approve Guest Group Contract with Camp Wesley Woods, Inc. for Gap Creek Elementary School's 5th grade field trip March 20 through March 22, 2019 at a cost of $2,185.00 using donations and student payments
             
10   AI-5629    Approve Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools agreement for Gibbs High School at no cost to Knox County Schools
             
11   AI-5630    Approve request of Gresham Middle School to purchase technology up to $30,842.10 using internal school funds
             
12   AI-5651    Approve request of Halls High School to purchase weightlifting equipment up to $25,429.50 using internal school funds
             
13   AI-5598    Approve Group Sales Agreement with SpringHill Suites Atlanta Buford/Mall of Georgia for provision of lodging for Hardin Valley Academy's Indoor Percussion Ensemble field trip to Atlanta, Georgia March 16-17, 2019 at an approximate cost of $1,089.00 using fundraising and student fees
             
14   AI-5632    Approve contract with Music Theatre International for license of amateur production of "Disney's High School Musical" at Hardin Valley Academy at a cost of $1,970.00 using fundraising and ticket sales
             
15   AI-5633    Approve Event Order agreement with The Foundry on the Fairsite for space and catering services for the L&N STEM Academy's Senior Class Luncheon on May 15, 2019 at an approximate cost of $2,900.00 using senior dues
             
16   AI-5634    Approve request of Rocky Hill Elementary School to purchase technology up to $28,557.50 using internal school funds
             
17   AI-5648    Approve modified Tour Agreement with Gerber Tours for Cedar Bluff Middle School's 8th Grade Trip Washington, DC and New York, New York at a cost of $658.00 per person using student payments (formerly approved by Board on November 14, 2018)
             
6   Board Policies
             
A   AI-5661    Approve first reading of Knox County Board of Education Policy B-111 "Duties of Officers" as amended - Discussed at Policy Review
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Mike McMillan
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
B   AI-5646    Approve first reading of Knox County Board of Education Policy B-163 "Rules of Order" as amended - Discussed at Policy Review
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
C   AI-5647    Approve first reading of Knox County Board of Education Policy B-240 "School Board Legislative Involvement" as amended - Discussed at Policy Review
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
D   AI-5645    Approve first reading of Knox County Board of Education Policy J-220 "Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Use" as amended - Discussed at Policy Review
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Virginia Babb
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
7   Grants
             
A   AI-5635    Approve Sub-Contract with WestEd for external evaluator services with a value up to $899,307.00 for a term of 60 months beginning November 1, 2018 as funded through the United States Department of Education, Education Innovation and Research Grant (approved by Board on November 14, 2018) - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Virginia Babb
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
B   AI-5636    Approve Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Simply Smart Grants in the total amount of $23,081.35 for 16 Knox County Schools high schools - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
C   AI-5641    Approve Tennessee Department of Transportation Aviation Outreach and Education Program Grant in the amount of $6,555.00 for L&N STEM Academy to promote rocketry and aviation interests for Knox County Schools students - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Evetty Satterfield, seconded by Tony Norman
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
D   AI-5637    Approve Farmer's Insurance Thank America's Teachers Grants for Spring Hill Elementary School, Cedar Bluff Middle School, and South-Doyle High School as shown on the attached list and in the total amount of $10,000.00 - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Evetty Satterfield, seconded by Tony Norman
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
E   AI-5650    Approve a Verizon grant in the amount of $2,000.00 for Bearden Middle School designated to purchase of mobile iPad cart - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
8   Contracts
             
A   AI-5616    Approve contract with Backflow Specialty Co., Inc. for provision of backflow inspection, repair and installation services as needed for a term of March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020 which may be extended for four (4) additional years, one (1) year at a time, for a total of five (5) years (Bid 2769)
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
B   AI-5619    Approve contracts with Delbert L Hall, LLC and Georgia Stage, LLC for provision of stage curtains and rigging services as needed for a term of March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020 which may be extended for four (4) additional years, one (1) year at a time, for a total of five (5) years (Bid 2753)
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Evetty Satterfield
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
C   AI-5610    Approve Microsoft Campus Education Volume Subscription Licensing Renewal for 3 years at an approximate annual cost of $450,000.00 using Information Technology general operating funds
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Mike McMillan
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
9   Regular Agenda Items
             
A   AI-5608    Approve tenure for eligible teachers - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
B   AI-5643    Approve amended allocations to Fiscal Year 2019 budgets for Title I, Title I-Neglected and Delinquent, Title II and Title III funds in the amount of $20,251,070.02 - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Kristi Kristy
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
C   AI-5642    Approve amended allocation to Fiscal Year 2019 budget for Title IV funds in the amount of $1,287,821.35 - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Jennifer Owen
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
D   AI-5649    Approve amended allocations to Fiscal Year 2019 budgets for IDEA Part B and IDEA Preschool funds in the amount of $16,099,487.04 - Recommended by Superintendent
  On motion made by Tony Norman, seconded by Kristi Kristy
  Vote: 8 - 0 Passed
             
E   AI-5660    Approve Special Education Pilot Recruitment Incentive Plan
  Mr. Norman made a motion to approve. The motion was seconded by Ms. Babb.

Ms. Babb asked for clarification regarding the length of this pilot incentive plan. Superintendent Thomas stated that it was a 3-year plan, but noted that it would be returned to the Board for consideration annually. Mr. McMillan asked what the recourse would be if the plan were not approved. Superintendent Thomas noted that if the district could not hire adequate staff to cover all required services, any missing services would have to be outsourced. Mr. McMillan said he understood incentives were already being offered for hard-to-staff areas, but voiced his concerns about heading down this path. Ms. Owen voiced her concerns as well, especially regarding the fiscal impact and making decisions based on national projections. She stated that she would like to have more information before making a decision.

Human Resources Talent Acquisition and Retention Liaison Dr. Brook Dennard Rosser clarified that projections regarding gaps in filling special education positions were based on Knox County Schools fill rates over the last 3 years. She also noted that KCS had been forced to outsource some services for the 2018-2019 school year. Human Resources Interim Director Scott Bolton stated that it was the district's intention to work within dollars already budgeted. KCS was currently offering a $5,000 bonus tfor newly hired certified special education positions, and this plan would allow a $7,000 bonus requiring a 3-year commitment to the district, which would hopefully build in retention.

Ms. Owen stated that she was hearing from teachers saying that they wanted to be competitive with other districts, but not with each other and that this incentive plan would make current teachers feel devalued. She encouraged the Board to refer to their current Collaborative Conferencing Memorandum of Understanding which stated that if funds were available they would be applied to teacher salary increases. Mr. Norman had concerns as well, but stated that he also understood the problem.

Student Support Services Executive Director Melissa Drinnon shared further data including the reality that the University of Tennessee currently only had 12 graduates in the special education field and Carson Newman University also had less than 20. She stated that KCS was currently actively recruiting and would offer early contracts, but this may not be enough to fill the expected open positions. Dr. Rosser stated frankly that KCS was simply not competitve with surrounding districts.

Ms. Babb said she heard Mr. McMillan and Ms. Owen's concerns, but she felt it was simply a matter of supply and demand and noted it would be cheaper to hire teachers than independent contractors. Ms. Bounds agreed and stated that she heard the rate the district had to pay for outside services was astronomical compared to hiring employees. Ms. Drinnon confirmed that the average rate paid for outside services was $115-$120 per hour. Ms. Horn said it was certainly worrisome if a $5,000 incentive was already in place and there were still vacancies. She asked how long the $5,000 incentive had been in place and Dr. Rosser answered somewhere between 3-5 years.

Ms. Owen asked if the Board could face legal ramifications if they failed to meet the agreements outlined in the Collaborative Conferencing Memorandum of Understanding. Knox County Deputy Law Director Gary Dupler said that he would have to review the exact language in the document and return to the Board with an opinion.

Vote:  6-2 Passed
           Nay - Ms. Owen and Mr. McMillan
             
F   AI-5657    Discussion and possible action on the Strategic Plan
  Ms. Owen made a motion for the Board Chair to create a committee of Board Members to complete the work on the strategic plan with the committee being chaired by Ms. Horn and final documents being provided to the Board for consideration. The motion was seconded by Ms. Babb.

Ms. Owen said she felt the Board had received the lastest strategic plan draft at the last minute and therefore she wanted a committee appointed to complete the work and bring a recommended final version. Ms. Babb suggested that a final draft be provided to the Board by the next regular session meeting. Ms. Owen was unsure whether a committee could be created and meet in time for a final document to be produced by the March regular session meeting, but felt that April was possible. Ms. Horn felt that seemed sensible and encouraged Board Members to provide desired changes as soon as possible.

Ms. Satterfield noted there was a detailed strategic plan draft proposed at the time she was elected that was very informative and the Board did not like that version and now Superintendent Thomas and his staff had brought the latest version, and she was hearing that the Board did not like this version as well. She stated that she herself was unsure what the Board wanted and felt strongly that they needed to be clear and conside about what they expected. Ms. Satterfield said the staff had already dedicated lots of time to this plan that required time away from their normal work and she would definitely want a timeline for another version to be offered. Ms. Owen said she agreed and felt the Board liked the structure of the document in general, but it just needed tweaking and fine tuning which would be easier done in a committee. Ms. Horn agreed and felt the document was 90% there and just needed crafting.

Ms. Bounds said it was very important that the Board take ownership of the plan and she liked the idea of a committee with a definite timeframe. She said she would support a final draft for consideration at the Board's April regular session meeting.

Ms. Owen clarified her motion for the Board Chair to create a committee of Board Members to complete the work on the strategic plan with the committee being chaired by Ms. Horn and final documents being provided to the Board for consideration by the April regular session Board meeting. The motion was seconded by Ms. Babb.

Vote:  8-0 Passed
             
10   Special Recognition of Bus Drivers
  Former Transportation Department Customer Service Manager Kim Severance thanked the Board for the opportunity to join them as they honored bus drivers for their dedication and years of service. Ms. Severance noted that Knox County Schools contracted with independent bus contractors for student transportation services and that bus drivers were sometimes the first face students saw in the morning and the last face they saw at the end of the school day. Ms. Severance felt it was important to thank the individuals who set the tone and sometimes the overall attitude toward learning.

Special recognition was given to drivers with over 10 years of experience and also those with over 20 years of experience. Board Members were invited to join the drivers at a reception following this meeting. On behalf of the Board, Ms. Horn expressed appreciation to all bus drivers for their daily care of Knox County students.
             
11   Public Forum
  Nicole Bigman of Fulton County, Georgia requested the opportunity to address the Board on behalf of the Moore family of Bearden High School.

In accordance with Board Policy B-180 "Public Forum," Mr. Norman made a motion to allow Ms. Bigman to speak as an out-of-county resident. The motion was seconded by Ms. Satterfield.

Vote: 8-0
  • Nicole Bigman addressed the Board regarding the danger of metal water bottles being used as weapons on school campuses.
  • Deborah Langston of Knox County, Tennessee addressed the Board regarding cursive writing and the re-hiring of retired employees.
  • Angela Bowman of Knox County, Tennessee addressed the Board regarding facility improvements at Lonsdale Elementary School.
  • Zimbabwe Matavou of Knox County, Tennessee addressed the Board regarding a First District independent school district.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:23 p.m.
 
Date Approved:
 

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