Money for school roofs may be available

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Karen Hall

Editor

Director of Schools Jackie Abernathy gave school board members some hopeful news when they met Monday night.

She told them she had asked the roofer to give her a list of work that could be done for $150,000.

"This would allow us to get started and try to stop water from running into classrooms during spring rains," Abernathy wrote in her director's report. After conversations with commissioners Barry Spivey and Nathan Johnson, she said it seemed like there was a pretty good chance to get $500,000 in next year's budget to continue work on the school roofs.

Then Abernathy heard there may be another maintenance fund at the courthouse with $700,000 in it, set aside for major projects.

The next step, she said, was to ask for a meeting with the County Commission's education committee, with the roofer there to answer questions. Members of the commission's budget committee would also be invited.

School board members unanimously approved a resolution asking the Tennessee General Assembly not to take away school boards' power.

"It's up to you," Abernathy said to board members, but they agreed with the resolution to oppose house bills which would, if passed, limit school boards' ability to participate in legislation, restrict their ability to control their own budget, and move more control of local educational matters into the hands of the Commissioner of Education.

Chairman Mike Keny noted that the Williamson and Rutherford County school boards had passed similar resolutions.

"My favorite part it the first line," said Barbara Kennedy. It reads, "Whereas Marshall County Schools are not for sale ..."

Abernathy also reported on her visit to the Industrial Development Board last week, when the very expensive accreditation for the schools was discussed, and IDB members voted to recommend not to pursue it.

"They could not see the benefit at this time," she said. "It certainly doesn't help the schools. If recruitment of business and industry becomes a problem we can always revisit it."

Board members had voted in favor of continuing with accreditation when they met in February, but having heard the IDB's opinion, they were happy to rescind their motion.

At the end of the meeting, board members handed in their annual evaluations of Abernathy's work as director. Board members Kennedy, Keny, and Sherry McClintock met to tabulate the results, which will be presented at the meeting next month.

This is to be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 7 -- moved up a week because of the need to vote on text book adoptions and submit them to the State Department of Education by the 15th.