School board OKs Dukes' deal

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Marshall County's school board on Monday night approved director Roy Dukes' contract, postponed hiring another maintenance worker, and rejected a fund-raising request.

While the meeting started with recognition of the county's three high schools' valedictorians and salutatorians, and the only senior with perfect attendance since kindergarten, the voting session concluded substantive business.

* Barbara Kennedy called for approval of Dukes' contract with an addition to the agreement that the position of assistant director would be abolished.

"We can't continue to fund all these positions," Kennedy said. "I think this is a step in the right direction."

Kristen Gold agreed: "Eliminating this position would not put someone out of a job. The responsibilities could be re-assigned to other individuals."

Others disagreed.

"It's setting him up for failure," exclaimed Ann Tears, while Craig Michael called it "totally inappropriate" to expect one individual to do two jobs.

Kennedy eventually withdrew her motion. Another motion, to accept the contract as written, was made by Curt Denton and seconded by Michael.

After some discussion of Dukes' salary, a roll-call vote was taken, and the board unanimously approved Dukes' contract, to loud applause from the audience that had packed into the boardroom.

"We're going to do the best that we can to save money," Dukes said. "We'll work together to solve problems."

* Randy Perryman, maintenance committee chairman, told the board that the maintenance department wanted to hire three temporary workers to paint over the summer, and an additional full-time person with HVAC certification.

"We did not vote on that," clarified Denton. "It's not a recommendation -- we discussed it."

"I have some real issues with hiring an additional person," said Michael, citing "significant budget challenges."

Denton reported that in Hickman County a four-man department was maintaining eight school buildings. Here the maintenance department has 10 men, and supervisor Sheldon Davis told the committee he could not do without any of them, even if they stopped working on the County buildings.

Denton moved to postpone hiring anyone until Dukes met with Roger Murphree, and this motion was carried 8-1. (The preliminary meeting to start seeking efficiencies in the maintenance and transportation departments is set for today.)

* The Kool Kats Relay for Life team asked the board's permission for a fund-raiser at Westhills and Oak Grove Elementary schools. Their letter said the group want to put American Cancer Society Coin Canisters in the classrooms from April 19-30.

"As you look at it, it's against our policy," Dukes said.

Policy 6.701 states, "Fundraising activities ... shall be for the purpose of supplementing

funds for established school programs and not for supplanting funds which are the responsibility of the public."

"We just discussed this at the last policy meeting," Gold said. "The committee recommends to keep the policy the same, so it seems like we wouldn't be approving it."

"It's a very worthy cause," said Perryman. "It promotes good citizenship. I think our policy is wrong in some cases."

"We'll have trouble if we say 'yes' to one and 'no' to the next," Kennedy pointed out. "I don't see how we can responsibly deny our own policy."

"The whole issue of fund-raising needs refinement," said Michael. "We need to discuss it in a work session."

The motion to deny the Relay for Life fundraiser was carried 8-1, with Perryman the lone dissenter.

Copyright 2010 Marshall County Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.