Schools Board ratifies contract

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Marshall County School Board voted unanimously to approve the contract that had been negotiated between the board of education and the Marshall County Education Association.

The school board's attorney, Chuck Cagle, had reviewed the contract and informed the board by e-mail that he was happy with the language in the document and recommended approval.

"I have some concerns and reservations," board member Kristen Gold said, "But I'm fairly confident going with our attorney's recommendation. If he's confident we'll trust him."

"It was a good faith effort," said board member and lead negotiator Craig Michael. "We're doing the right thing."

The attorney for the Tennessee School Boards Association had raised some questions about the language in Article 10, dealing with "Just Cause," but Michael told the board that the negotiating team had written the article during a conference call with Cagle.

The teachers present for this historic occasion were delighted by the ratification, but applause and cheers greeted Dr. Stan Curtis' decision to cancel school on Friday, due to the extreme cold. This move was in line with neighboring counties, and had the effect of giving teachers and pupils a four-day weekend.

Three other proposals presented to the board were rejected.

The Lewisburg Water Department requested the donation of land at Cornersville for a pumping station, but this was rejected by five votes to three. (The ninth board member, Randy Perryman, was unable to attend the meeting, due to a work commitment.)

"We spend $37,000 on water at Cornersville (schools)," said board member Curt Denton. "With the times the way they are, and our budget problems, I don't see it's appropriate to give this property away."

Water department representatives were in the audience, and when asked for clarification, Kenneth Carr said, "All we're asking for is the use of this land. It's not the only site; we can place a pumping station elsewhere."

"Is it an option for you to buy?" asked board member Mike Keny.

"No," replied Carr.

"If we don't donate it, we're not going to sell it to someone else," Gold pointed out, adding, "There's something to be said for good will."

Gold failed to sway opinion and the request was rejected.

The board was also asked to approve the three county high school graduation dates, but when they found Cornersville and Marshall County High Schools were scheduled for the same day, they accepted Curtis' offer to take it back to the principals.

A motion by Denton, to ask Curtis to make it possible for someone to attend all three graduations if they wished to do so, was passed unanimously.

The school board also has to approve fundraisers at the schools, and they rejected one of Oak Grove School's proposed activities, which was to involve scratch-off cards.

"It's just training future lottery players," joked Michael.

"We're better off to take that one out," said Curtis. "Let's be cautious here."

The board agreed with him, and voted against that particular fundraising event.