County’s graduation rate is up

County’s graduation rate is up

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Monday was report card day for the Obion County School System.
And the report was favorable as assistant director of schools and supervisor of instruction Nancy Hamilton shared the system’s state Report Card with the Obion County School Board at its session Monday night at South Fulton Elementary School.
Last month, the Tennessee Department of Education released the 2012 state Report Card, which offers detailed breakdowns of last year’s unprecedented statewide student achievement growth and presents the most recent data on graduation rate, demographics and school-level test scores.
Obion County’s report card shows the system has met the majority of achievement goals and Mrs. Hamilton said the analysis shows local students’ scores are comparable to those statewide. The system’s ACT scores are only a few tenths of a point below the state average.
The per pupil expenditure is below the state average, with Obion County at $8,409 and the state average at $9,123.
On a very positive note, Obion County’s systemwide graduation rate is 90.6 percent — up from 84.4 percent in 2011.
“We are pleased with that,” Mrs. Hamilton said.
Obion County Director of Schools David Huss said the graduation rate shows “remarkable” progress and is the result of a combined effort systemwide. School board chairman Brian Rainey said the system as a whole should be congratulated for the effort.
In other action during Monday night’s 30-minute meeting, which was opened with prayer led by Fritz Fussell, the school board:
• Approved a consent agenda that included the monthly personnel and financial reports, a report of substitute teachers approved for addition and technology equipment declared surplus for disposal.
The personnel report listed the retirements of Lake Road teacher Janette Fisher, Obion County Central High School teacher Tom Kelley and bus driver Betty McClain; the resignations of Hillcrest assistant principal Richard Tant and Lake Road educational assistant Jaime Johnson; leaves of absence for Hillcrest teacher Jamie Huss, Lake Road custodian Frankie Ogden and Lake Road food service employee Carolyn Dickson; and the hirings of transportation secretary Melinda Ashley, Lake Road/Hillcrest book-keeper Teresa Sanders and Ridgemont educational assistant Chase Sowell.
Substitute teachers added for the month included Shannon Preuett, Lauren Moore, Anthony Wright, Wanda Seratt, Angela Miller, Tammy McNeal, Ronnie Sue Jones, Darla Hale, Lana Carson, Melissa Jackson, Jennifer Hall and Lacy Goodman.
• Approved the second and final readings of amendments to board policies regarding the use of Internet and substitute teachers. The substitute teacher policy amendment was adopted with the deletion of a provision for third-party providers for substitutes, which the county does not have.
• Heard an update on the Coordinated School Health program from director Chastity Homra, who applauded the system’s silver level achievement in the recent Tennessee School Boards Association’s Healthy Schools Challenge and outlined what must be done to achieve the gold level.
• Approved the report of local education agency compliance, an annual action to certify to the Tennessee Department of Education, as part of the school approval process, that the school system and individual schools are in compliance with state statutes and state Board of Education rules, regulations and minimum standards.
• Approved a low bid of $36,298 from Hotel & Restaurant Supply of Memphis for the purchase of a combination double oven/steamer for South Fulton Middle/High School. The bid price includes disconnection and disposal of the old oven unit.
• OK’d a request from the South Fulton High School baseball program to construct a new con-cessions stand/press box for the baseball field. Funds for the construction are available through prior fundraising activities and board-allocated facilities funds.
• Granted a request to declare items as surplus and approved their disposition via the most economical method.
The items include two 1997 78-passenger school buses, one 1998 78-passenger school bus and one 1998 Pontiac Transport mini-van from the transportation department, with sealed bids to be sought for the school buses and with the mini-van to be transferred to the OCCHS Career Technical School for class projects; and surplus basketball uniforms from Hillcrest Elementary School, with the uniforms to be sold and the funds deposited to the school’s athletic fund.
• Approved a resolution opposing the Federal Budget Control Act of 2011.
Huss explained that school board chairmen and school superintendents across the state received an email Oct. 29 from the Tennessee School Boards Association urging boards to adopt a resolution opposing federal budget cuts that are required by the Federal  Budget Control Act of 2011. If enacted, the federal government will impose an across-the-board cut of 8.2 percent to education and other domestic programs in January, he said.
The resolution opposes such drastic actions by Congress and sets forth how the proposed budget cuts could affect public education in Obion County and across the nation. Huss said the budget cuts would impact school districts during the 2013-14 school year and could result in teacher and staff layoffs, loss of intervention programs and/or an increased tax burden on local residents for additional unfunded federal mandates.
• Learned no bids were received for the purchase of bread for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. Hostess had the bread bid, but has since gone out of business, according to Huss.
In addition to advertising, the school system solicited bids for bread from Sara Lee and Flowers Baking for the remainder of the school year. No bids were received, however, and Huss said the only option is to use quote prices for the rest of the school year when bread is purchased. He said soliciting more bids at this point would be futile and a waste of funds.
Huss said the first day the county school system was without Hostess resulted in school officials purchasing all the bread available from the Walmart stores in Union City, Fulton and Martin.
• Learned considerable progress is being made at the old Career Technology Center building in Union City’s industrial park, which will be the location of the county school system’s new central office.
• Was informed by Huss that $26,000 is the guaranteed maximum price for repairs at Hillcrest Elementary School, where there has been a problem with some cracking in floors and walls because of soil shrinkage due to an apparent lack of moisture. A structural engineer’s report had previously recommended shoring up brick, pouring concrete to secure brick and installing piers.
With engineers’ fees, the cost will be about $50,000, which is considerably less than previously thought, and the work will be done over the Christmas break, Huss said.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 12.4.12

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