The Campbell County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to add student representatives to the board, following a presentation by student members of the Knox County School Board. WATCH HERE.
New board member Noah Smith promoted the idea and invited Kinley Koontz, a UT student who previously served as the non-voting student member of the Knox County board, to speak about the program.
Koontz pointed out that the student representative, while not having a vote on issues, participated in discussions and brought the perspective of students and student groups to the board while learning how the board decided on policies. “It is beneficial to both sides,” she stated.
Faye Heatherly reminded the board that Campbell County had previously invited participation from students as “junior board members, one from each district.” The practice was halted after a short time, Heatherly pointing out that “five was too many.”
Smith suggested that the school system select one student from Campbell County High and one from Jellico High School and that plan was adopted.
The board also adopted a number of policy changes in order to adhere to changes in state law, ranging from personnel qualifications to drug and safety issues and background investigations.
One revision that is still pending will revise payroll procedures. On April 1, school personnel along with other county employees will receive their paychecks by direct deposit to their bank accounts, but some details are still being worked out.
Moving forward on improvements to White Oak Elementary School was also discussed, but what the board will do is still in the air, as no decision was made on receiving an estimate of the costs for either a new gym or classrooms as requested last month by a room full of parents and teachers.
Director Jennifer Fields reported that the Michael Brady architectural firm had not yet responded to a request for a preliminary estimate of costs, while another architect has offered to do a preliminary study at a cost of $3,000.
Johnny Byrge questioned the need to spend $3,000 just to obtain an estimate and no action was taken at the meeting. A committee of interested board members will probably take up the subject before any money is approved.
The board also voted unanimously to send a letter to State Senator Ken Yeager and Representative Dennis Powers, opposing any legislation to approve school vouchers for parents who choose not to send children to public schools.
The board agreed last month that such a law would drastically affect state funding for public schools and agreed to oppose vouchers. Unfortunately, Campbell County’s Representative Dennis Powers appears to strongly support voucher legislation, it was pointed out. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/09/2019-11AM)