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School Committee Meeting Minutes – May 10, 2024 (Unapproved)

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10 May 2024

Chair Shelly Goolsby opened the meeting by mentioning celebrating the nurses/teachers’ week and thanking the responders, EMS, the Highway department, TDOT, PES and E911, for their response to the weather disaster this week.  She then asked Commissioner Matt Rubelsky to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. The Minutes of 5 April 2024 were then moved for approval by Commissioner Erin Curry, seconded by Commissioner Matthew Hopkins, and were approved unanimously.  County Executive (CE) Graham Stowe was asked for any announcements and he too offered his thanks to first responders, and gave additional information on the partnerships that came together in response to storm damage.  In the southern part of Giles County, which suffered the most damage, three TEMA teams had surveyed the damage and there were seven homes destroyed, and there was an initial assessment of $4.8M in damages.  Both the Red Cross and Senator Bill Hagerty had called and the Red Cross is responding today to some of the victims, he further mentioned. 


The Chair then noted there would be two items for discussion, a budget amendment and a sales tax resolution and she asked if anyone from the public wished to speak on those items.  There being none, she moved to the first agenda item, that being a budget amendment.  The Financial Manager (FM) Beth Moore-Sumners discussed the proposed amendment for general purpose school fund, stating it had been approved by the school board.  The amendment addressed Special Education line item and moved funding within the school’s budget.  She noted that at the end of the fiscal year (FY), and there being two payrolls in June, the salary line item cannot be over, not even $1.  That means there will be another “clean-up” amendment coming before the end of the FY.  A motion was made by Commissioner Erin Curry to approve the amendment (provided in a handout), seconded by Commissioner Terry Jones, and was approved unanimously.

Next Agenda Item – Resolution to Equalize the County Sales & Use Tax Rate with that of the City of Pulaski in order to Guarantee Funding for Giles County Public Schools (handout provided).   The Chair noted the Resolution was brought by Commissioner Evan Baddour and a motion to approve was made by Commissioner Erin Curry and seconded by Commissioner Baddour.  Discussion followed.  Commissioner Baddour asked that the committee consider putting the resolution on the November ballot for District 1 – 5 consideration, as the tax is already in effect for city districts.  He noted a previous similar resolution had failed two years before but only by 995 votes.  He noted the City of Pulaski currently provides $200K per year to schools but is not legally obligated to do that and may choose not to.  Commissioner Baddour noted that the wording on this proposed resolution has been reviewed by CTAS and will provide more clarity.  He also mentioned the state is to provide confirmation on the final wording.   While several commissioners thought just the idea of taxation is not acceptable to citizens, this resolution only affects funding already spent by the tax payer, per School Board Chairman Knox Vanderpool.  He termed it not a money grab, but money already grabbed because the tax is already in effect (the city) where people spend their money.  With that in mind several commissioners discussed how to provide voters with an accurate understanding of the resolution, with Commissioner Erin Curry saying the resolution would have to be collectively pushed if you want to have an impact.  Commissioner Gayle Jones discussed how the other towns within Giles County would also see some additional funding.  Commissioner Matt Rubelsky had concerns about bringing another resolution on the same issue which had failed before and compared it to the liquor by the drink which had been brought to the full commissioner three times, believing that would show opening a “pandora box”.  He also mentioned some previous votes on additional significant funding from general funds but would not consider another type tax, e.g. wheel tax or increased property taxes.  But he also said to move forward the county needs to be in conversations with the state to have more tax funds that go directly to the state returned to the county.  Commissioner David Adams noted in some of the county restaurants there are a lot of out of county cars there and the county gets none of that taxation.   A roll call vote was taken and the motion to send a recommendation to the full commission to include on the November ballot for District 1 – 5 was approved 5-2 with Commissioners Matthew Hopkins and Matt Rubelsky voting no.  The County Executive noted the resolution would still have to go before the Department of Revenue for final approval. 

The Chair asked for any unfinished or new business and there were none.  Commissioner Terry Jones asked about providing personal funding so some children could enter school activities such as a color run and being told that wouldn’t help, that a parent(s)’ signature is required.  School Superintendent Vickie Beard answered that it is not always a lack of funding, that health issues often have to be considered, such as asthma. 

A motion to adjourn, by Commissioner Matthew Hopkins, seconded by Commissioner David Adams, was made and was approved unanimously.    

ATTENDEES:  Members – Chair Commissioner Shelly Goolsby, Other Commissioners Erin Curry, David Adams, Terry Jones, Matthew Hopkins, Matt Rubelsky, and Evan Baddour (for Joseph Sutton absent)   Other Commissioners attending – Brad Butler, Judy Pruett, Joyce Woodard, Tracy Wilburn, Gayle Jones, Rose Brown, Annelle Guthrie, Tim Risner  Others attending – County Executive Graham Stowe, Financial Management Beth Moore-Sumners, Shana Woodard, School Superintendent Vickie Beard and School Board Chairman Knox Vanderpool, EMS Director Bill Myers, Josh Young,  Willow Chavez, Property Assessor Tommy Hyatt, and Scott Stewart