SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
20 MAY 2022
Commissioner and Chairman Stoney Jackson opened the meeting asking Commissioner Tommy Pollard to offer a prayer and lead the pledge. Minutes of 6 May 2022 were moved for approval by Commissioner Erin Curry, seconded by Commissioner Judy Pruett. Minutes were approved.
First Agenda Item – 141 Amendment Truck. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Vicki Beard, spoke to the requirement of $46,750 for a new 2022 Ford truck. Replacement of the current truck is due to significant needed repairs resulting in an unfavorable cost of repair to value of the truck. The maintenance budget has an available $19,900 with the balance coming from the instructional budget. The truck located in Murfreesboro will be delivered upon purchase. However, per Beth waiting until the full commission can approve this purchase places a potential loss of the truck with the long delay and the company holding the truck for the county. She suggested with the commitment from the budget committee, the purchase could be made, with the understanding if not approved, the maintenance budget could cover but would really stretch that budget line. Commissioner Erin Curry moved for approval and forwarding to the budget committee, and with Commissioner Joseph Sutton seconding, the motion was approved.
Second Agenda Item – 141 School General Fund. Director of Financial Management, Beth Moore-Sumners said the copy provided is still in the draft stage and a more up-to-date budget would be provided soon. (BEP not available at this time). Several specific categories were discussed as were some major concerns/challenges. The major discussions were on Maintenance of Effort (MoE) for the school. The term MoE refers to the requirement that funds and expenditures remain relatively constant from year to year. For approximately 14 – 15 years the Giles County schools’ MoE had changed only one time. Some of the commissioners referred that to barely staying above the bottom of the barrel. With the increased BEP, and just with the salary raises required by state this year (4%), not to mention inflation for items such as gas for buses, to retain that new MoE places the county in a less than promising competitive position. Adding to a potential change to the MoE decision is the low unemployment rate and the over-collection on sales tax which seems likely to remain somewhat stable into the future. A motion by Commissioner Judy Pruett, seconded by Commissioner Mike Cesarini, to increase the MoE from last year’s by $500K was approved after the following discussion. School Board Chairman Knox Vanderpool noted the Board’s appreciation for the new MoE, but also said we don’t want to lose our teachers to other counties or to other vocations. He mentioned some other approaches such as bonuses, and for new employees a signing bonus was mentioned. Dr. Beard said that for some of the teaching skills more difficult to hire, e.g. math, science and special ed, the school system does pay $2K for the first year, and $1k for the third year. Specific category discussions were: difficulty in hiring special ed teachers, using some contracted so as to have teachers in the room; increase in minimum salaries being voted on by state today and will re-evaluate next year; question by Commissioner David Adams on drivers – Beth mentioned the restructuring plan which this year includes the drivers. Those drivers will receive up to a 10% raise depending on seniority, and the restructuring also includes education assistants, transportation, and custodians, again on seniority, who will receive more than the 4%; Commissioner Gayle Jones asked about student population and Dr. Beard said 3515, with the BEP estimate being down 95 students. Kindergarten population seems promising, and county wide, the population will remain relatively stable. Commissioner Mike Cesarini mentioned a UT study which showed Giles County population remaining flat, and he said he disagreed and saw the school population increasing. A question on the increase of $100K to the earlier proposed MoE and where that would show was made into a motion by Commissioner Duane Jones, seconded by Commissioner Erin Curry to show $50K in medical and the other $50K in diesel fuel. Motion approved. A motion by Commissioner Tommy Pollard and seconded by Commissioner Erin Curry to send the proposed 2022-2023 141 School General Fund budget to the budget committee was approved.
Third Agenda Item – 143 School Food Service. This Budget is totally funded by federal funds. Commissioner Tommy Pollard moved for approval, Commissioner Erin Curry seconded. Motion approved. Dr. Beard mentioned their effort to correct the data that would have resulted in this program not being implemented.
Fourth Agenda Item – 177 School Capital Projects. This line is an old line that has to be shown for budgeting purposes. Commissioners Erin Curry and Duane Jones moved and seconded for approval. Motion approved.
Fifth Agenda Item – 178 School Capital Projects #2. Again, this line is for budgeting transparency and is being brought over from previous year. Commissioner Mike Cesarini asked if this has to be expensed this year, and Beth responded no. Commissioners Erin Curry and Duane Jones moved and seconded for approval. Motion approved. Knox Vanderpool gave information on the installation of UV sanitation (for destroying virus and bacteria) in all class rooms, installation expected by this summer.
With no old or new business, Commissioners Tommy Pollard and Judy Pruett moved and seconded for adjournment. Motion approved.
ATTENDEES: Members of the Committee – Commissioners Chairman Stoney Jackson, Joseph Sutton, Erin Curry, Judy Pruett, Duane Jones for Rodney Journey (absent), Mike Cesarini, Tommy Pollard for Brad Butler (absent); Other Commissioners – Larry Worsham, Gayle Jones, Tim Risner, Roger Reedy, Rose Brown, David Adams, Joyce Woodard, Tracy Wilburn Other – County Executive Melissa Greene, Financial Management Beth Sumners-Moore, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Vicki Beard, School Board President Knox Vanderpool and members of the public