Mark Winningham placed as virtual instruction liaison

Dewain E. Peek/OCN screen shot

Interim Director of Schools Donnie Holman addresses the School Board.

By Dewain E. Peek,

OCN Editor

In a work session last week, Interim Director of Schools Donnie Holman informed Overton County Board of Education that former director of schools, Mark Winningham, has been transferred to countywide virtual instruction liaison, effective January 13, 2021.

School Board member William Abston asked during the work session what position Winningham had been moved into.

“Mark has been moved into a countywide virtual liaison position,” Interim Director Holman said. “But, what he is doing, basically, is helpping all the schools with any virtual instruction problems when they arise.”

School Board member Mike Gilpatrick asked if Winningham was being paid his salary as the contract called for.

School Board Chairman Jarman Hicks answered. “Yes, sir.”

Gilpatrick also asked about Interim Director Holman’s salary.

“He is on the director’s salary scale to be paid what he’s lawfully entitled to?” Gilpatrick asked.

“What he is lawfully entitled to, yes,” Chairman Jarman Hicks said. “Our Board attorney recommended it be comparable to Dr. Winningham, so that was how that was drafted through the contract.”

Holman said, “I’m fine. It’s off just a tiny bit, but I’m fine with it.

Holman reported to the Board the COVID-19 situation as of Tuesday, Feb. 9.

“We have 51 students that are quarantined, four that are positive, in the whole district, one teacher quarantined, two positive, and two staff that are quarantined, and zero positive,” Interim Director Holman said. “So, it looks like our numbers are going in the right direction.”

Director Holman also mentioned the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Volkswagen settlement grant.

“The county was awarded right at $160,000, and we paid 50% of the cost of two buses this past school year, and they’re now in operation,” Holman said.

The school system bought three buses this past year.

“And we’ll be able to buy two additional buses this coming school year,” he said.

Those will be Special Education buses.

“They’re quite a bit more expensive,” Holman said.

Then explained the ESSER 2.0 fund to address learning loss from the pandemic.

ESSER stands for Elementary Secondary Schools Emergency Relief.

He said ESSER 1.0 was used primarily for technology and ESSER 2.0 is supposed to address learning loss during the pandemic.

Overton County will receive $2.7 million in ESSER 2.0, according to Holman, and the plan for its use must be submitted by March 1, and the amount must be spent through June 30, 2023, which will include three years of summer school.

School repair and improvement is an allowable use of the funds. Director Holman said the funds will be needed to replace HVAC units.

“We are looking at spending some of this money to replace a lot of the older units,” Holman said.

Building committee chairman Mike Hayes said 33 units need upgrading.

Along with Mark Winningham’s transfer, other items on the Director’s Report issued to the School Board are as follows:

•Transferred Julie Poston to Rickman Elementary as Interim Principal, as recommended by Director Holman.

•Hired Josh Shaw, effective January 19, 2021, as custodian at Livingston Middle School, as recommended by Principal Doug Smith.

•Hired Rachael LaPlant, effective January 14, 2021, as Special Education assistant at A.H. Roberts Elementary, as recommended by Principal Brandon Cross.

In the Fundraiser Report, Allons Elementary was approved for a General Fund school store fundraiser for instructional supplies and materials, and General Fund yearbook sales for instructional materials and supplies.

Livingston Academy was approved for the following:

•LA Football fundraiser cheesecake sales to gain revenue for missed opportunities due to COVID-19.

•LA Baseball Booster Club sale of smoked butts for players’ and booster club expenses.

•LA Tennis fundraiser selling signs for team expenses.

•LA Volleyball fundraiser selling ferns for team expenses.

School Board member Ricky Dodson brought up LA Softball’s desire to update the field to add a block wall and netting, with about three poles to hold the netting.

Chairman Hicks suggested waiting until the end of the year to see what money may be available.

Hayes mentioned that heating equipment was recently approved for the baseball field house.

Dodson also brought up the possibility of buyouts, which the Board will look into.

A planned Board retreat was pushed back to June to give time for COVID-19 to better be under control.