After the usual personnel-specific executive session at their regular June meeting Monday night, members of the Dade County Board of Education announced a heavy lineup of new hires and promotions.
Notably, Regena Logan was named Dade County High School head girls’ basketball coach and Stephen Graham DCHS head girls’ softball coach. Dr. Cleta Long was approved as school nutrition director and Amanda Clark, formerly a special education inclusion teacher at Davis Elementary, as well as Dade First director, will now be counselor at the high school.
Patti Johnson will take over as graduation coach at the high school. Madison Ambrose--who not so long ago was among the top DCHS graduates--will now teach at Dade Elementary. So will Justin Page. Vicky Tillman and Krystle Hamilton have been hired to teach at Davis. Tristica Adams will teach math at Dade Middle School and Nikki Wright will teach ELA (English and language arts) there. Amy Henson has been hired as a paraprofessional at DES.
Public hearings for the school system’s fiscal year 2018 budget were announced for noon on July 6 and 5 p.m. on July 17. The board had no budget figures prepared to share with The Planet at its Monday night meeting or by presstime Tuesday.
Assistant Superintendent Billy Hooker updated the board about the state of renovation at the high school during the public part of the board meeting. “It did look like a war zone there for a while,” he said. But painting is progressing well now, said Hooker, and the color scheme selected by the board is turning out nicely. “It looks like a professional building,” he said.
Hooker said the recommended remediation process for the floors had started and he believes it will be wrapped up ahead of the extended completion date.
A problem with moisture in the flooring discovered last month caused consternation at the school board when it was revealed fixing it would push back the completion date of the $2 million renovation at the high school and add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the price tag. Whether or not the floors will be ready when school resumes in August is a matter of some nail biting among educators.
Otherwise, the June 19 board meeting was a routine-business affair in which the board approved a long list of contract continuations, renewals and upgrades recommended by Superintendent Jan Harris. Among these were: $13,877 in SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) funds for Smart Fusion bookkeeping software to replace the 10-year-old program used by Paula Stallings, the system finance director. “We were even having trouble balancing,” it’s so old,” said Ms. Stallings.
The board renewed its contract with Dalton State to allow student teachers to teach in the system and approved $101,220 to renew its workers’ compensation insurance. Ms. Stallngs explained the premium had risen somewhat not only due to claims filed on the policy but because it was based on total payroll, which had risen when the governor gave educators statewide a raise.
For its regular property insurance, the board approved $58,236 including cyber-threat coverage as opposed to $54,636 without. Board member Gen. Bob Woods said the extra few thousands were worth it to keep the schools safe from malicioius computer hacking. “It’s amazing how many people do that as a hobby,” said the general.
The board approved low bids for housekeeping items like detergent and garbage can liners and renewed agreements with RESA (Regional Education Service Agencies), Tennessee Home Audiology for help if needed with hearing-impaired students, and a number of other providers of education-related services. It agreed to surplus three pieces of used school kitchen equipment and, expressing regret, accepted a federal increase in the price of school lunches. “As you know, we don’t control these prices,” said Dr. Harris.
The hike is 10 cents per lunch or 50 cents for lunch all week. Breakfast prices have not changed.