School Board holds monthly meeting; work session talks more of “other option”

Eliza Clark/OCN screen shot

Ricky Dodson, second from left, urges the School Board to move forward with the original plan for the football stadium, as, from left, Chairman Howard Miller and fellow School Board members Dolphus Dial, Mike Sullivan, Mike Hayes, and Diane Sadler listen.

By Dewain E. Peek,

OCN Editor

Overton County Board of Education held the regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17.

After approving minutes of the November 12, 2019 meeting, and Director of Schools Mark Winningham asked that giving approval for Rick Brawner to fund a landscaping project at Rickman Elementary School be added to the night’s agenda.

School Board members voted to add the item to the agenda, and the agenda was then approved.

In executive action, Central Technologies’ bid of $13,280 for 20 desktop student devices for the coding class was approved.

Approval was given for a 2019-2020 Federal Projects Budget amendment.

In new business, infrastructure upgrades at Rickman Elementary School and Wilson Elementary School were approved.

Light pole upgrades for the new gravel parking lot at Rickman Elementary School and outside lighting upgrades at the school were approved. Before the vote, School Board member Jarman Hicks noted his conflict of interest as an employee of Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation.

Director Winningham said of the new LED lighting, “It will increase our cost just a little bit, but it should provide a much better light.”

Hicks said the lights will be like those that have been installed in the city of Livingston.

Playground upgrades at A.H. Roberts Elementary School were approved.

Second reading approval was given for Policy 6.300 Code of Conduct.

First reading approval was given for the following policies: 1.106 Code of Ethics, 3.201 Safety, 4.201 Class Size Ratios, 4.406 Use of Internet, 4.600 Grading System, 4.606 Graduation Activities, 4.700 Testing Programs, 6.405 Medicines, 6.411 Student Wellness, and 6.600 Student Records.

The following were approved as ELA textbook adoption committee members for the 2019-2020 school year, as recommended by Melissa Savage: Julie Miller, Dana Gore, Wendy Padgett, and Catherine Gore.

Livingston Middle School teacher Debbie Huff’s letter of retirement, effective Jan. 10, 2020, was read.

Director Winningham issued the Director’s Report to the School Board.

Actions taken by the school director are as follows:

•Hired Teresa Woolums on recommendation of Principal Doug Smith to fill the position of Educational Assistant at Livingston Middle School.

•Hired Sony Kelly on recommendation of Principal Donnie Holman to fill a cafeteria position at Rickman Elementary School.

•Hired Piper Tudhope on recommendation of Principal Kim Dillon to fill the leave of Jamie Bournes, PreK aide, at Hilham Elementary, beginning December 2, 2019 and ending March 23, 2020.

•Hired Barbara Winningham on recommendation of Principal Kim Dillon to fill the leave of Jessica Jackson on November 18, 2019.

•Hired Terry Smith as maintenance personnel as recommended by Maintenance Supervisor Ben Oakley, December 2, 2019.

Fundraiser Report

A.H. Roberts


•General fund fundraiser: Christmas stores to raise money for supplies and materials.

Hilham Elementary

•TechFit Club: Dance to help with March 7, 2020 trip costs (TechFit Competition.

Livingston Academy

•LA Interact Club sweatshirt sale fundraiser for club activities and spring conference.

•LA Band Boosters cookie dough sale to help meet costs and expenses of the band program.

•LA senior class Krispy Kreme donut sale to raise funds for senior trip.

Wilson Elementary

•General fund fundraiser: Warrior stickers for tumblers for technology devices for classroom, classroom materials, and trips.

Field Trip Report

Allons Elementary

•Allons Elementary Beta Club. Request permission to take the Beta Club on a field trip to Gatlinburg, TN. They will go to Ripley’s Aquarium and will be “sleeping with the sharks”. Possible dates: May 11, 12, or 13.

Livingston Academy

•Livingston Academy Beta Club: Request permission to take the LA Beta Club to the Beta Club Convention, November 21 to November 23, 2019, at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

•Livingston Academy Beta Club: Request permission to take the LA Beta Club to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, on May 4, 2020.

The meeting adjourned, and then the School Board moved into a work session.

After explaining that surveys for interest in a possible Junior ROTC program will not be sent out until after school resumes in the new year, School Board member Mike Hayes turned to an update on the football stadium replacement, which took a detour last month when the School Board decided to ask architect John Cheney to get a cost estimate on building an entirely new facility on land currently owned by Dr. Larry Mason behind the softball field at Livingston Academy. The new facility would possibly include a running track.

The School Board has already approved up to $4.3 million for tearing down the old concrete bleachers and moving ahead with replacing them with aluminum bleachers and other improvements to the field and facilities of the current football stadium.

“That’s kind of holding right now while we’re waiting on the other one to come back, because obviously they’re not going to start work on that on when we’re trying to figure out if we want to do this other option or not,” Hayes said.

He asked for some direction from the rest of the Board.

Hicks asked, “Do we have a land price?”

Hayes answered, “I haven’t got a land price.”

Ready to go forward instead of sitting in neutral, School Board member Ricky Dodson said, “I think we need to move. We’ve worked on this for two years. I think we need to leave it where it’s currently at, build us a walking track later on.

“If we don’t get started, it’s not going to happen next year.”

“I don’t disagree with you,” Hayes said.

He said he was just following up on what he was asked.

School Board member Diane Sadler clarified, “It’s not just a walking track. We won’t be able to have a regulation size track. We can’t do it at the existing facility. That can’t happen.”

She pointed out that a regulation track would take up a lot of land.

Then the discussion turned to what timeline they would be looking at.

Director Winningham reminded the Board, “In discussions we’ve had in the past, they always thought we needed to start the day, basically, that the football season was over in order to have the stadium ready for the following year. And the main thing there is fabricating the bleachers – that’s the big issue, it’s not getting the ground ready or anything like that, it’s fabricating the bleachers.”

With the sense that time is running out, the possibility of a called meeting was floated if Cheney can give Hayes a dollar amount on the “other option”.

The work session closed.