Minutes of the August 12, 2002 and August 26, 2002 meetings of the Smyth County School Board, as approved by the School Board at its September 9, 2002 meeting

Marion, Virginia
August 12, 2002

The Smyth County School Board met today with the following members present: Phillip Hopkins, James H. Campbell, Jesse Choate, Charles Doane, Jerry Catron, and Paul Grinstead.

On motion of Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Campbell, minutes of the last meeting were approved as presented.

On motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Choate, the agenda was approved after adding new boiler bids for Chilhowie Middle/High Schools' project under 11.c. and adding to15. Other items of interest - hear from Mr. Catron.

Several parents and other citizens were present to voice their concerns over the safety conditions at the Chilhowie Elementary and Chilhowie Middle/High Schools due to renovations. Donna Richardson, a parent, was concerned about the air and the dust at the schools and how this would affect children with allergies. The parents were concerned about air quality, dust, noise, asbestos, safety, and contact between the construction workers and the students.

Doug Covington of Dewberry and Davis, the architects for the projects, was present to answer questions about the status of the construction. He said the contractor planned to have the renovated parts of the existing building ready to occupy by the start of school. Science labs at Chilhowie High School would probably not be ready. He said work at Chilhowie Elementary School would be done after school let out each day until 11:00 p.m. each evening, and work on the Chilhowie Middle/High Schools would continue during the day with additions sealed off from the existing building. Mr. Covington also stated that the contractor had until December to finish the job. He said the building inspector would inspect the buildings before granting an occupancy permit.

Mr. Catron made a motion that all other schools except those in the Chilhowie attendance area begin school at the stated and well-publicized date and time. Dr. Winters pointed out that if it was for just a couple of days it would be fine, but long-term would run into some educational problems. The motion failed for a lack of a second.

On motion of Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Campbell, the board voted to postpone the opening of school by four days. All schools would open on Monday, August 26, 2002. The motion carried with 5 ayes and 1 nay.

Dr. Winters recommended that teachers report to school on Friday, August 16, 2002, for the scheduled countywide in-service day at Marion Senior High School and to start in their schools on Tuesday, August 20th through Friday, August 23rd.

Dr. Winters reviewed revenue, expenditure, and cash flow figures for 2002-2003. Revenue figures for 2001-2002 were final.

Dr. Winters reviewed goals for reducing the 2002-2003 operations budget. He will bring back next month a draft on paying long-term substitutes. On motion of Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Grinstead, the board voted to recognize the elementary school and the middle/high school with the best combined faculty and student attendance each month. They will be recognized at the following month's school board meeting and will receive a special school board attendance flag to fly for the next month.

Dr. Winters reviewed new Medicaid reimbursement guidelines and implications for the cost of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech services. The lower bidder was Heartland Rehabilitation Services. Heartland's bid specified that they would provide OT and PT services for Smyth County students for $42.00 per hour. When the contract is finalized Dr. Winters will bring it back for approval. There will need to be a budget amendment in those two line items.

The board received a report from Steve Darnell of Trigon Blue Cross/Blue Shield on health and dental insurance renewal rates for 2002-2003. Due to claims experience and medical trends, the renewal on health insurance represents a 34.3% increase in premium rates. The insurance committee is not ready to make a recommendation and will meet again at 4:30 p.m. on August 26th. Employees will be asked to compete a survey, and the board will review options to reduce the premium increase and to provide lower cost alternatives to higher cost plans.

Steve Miller, principal of Marion Intermediate School, gave a presentation on a new after-school program. The name of the program is Girls On The Run of Southwest Virginia and Mrs. Rebecca Buchanan has offered to begin the program for girls through athletics, specifically running. The initial funding for this comes from a grant through the Tobacco Settlement Foundation. There is a stipend of $250.00 for the coach. On motion of Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Doane, the board voted to pilot the program.

The board heard a presentation from Hope Trivette, Supervisor of Federal Programs, on No Child Left Behind legislation. Under the NCLBA, each state must establish a definition of "adequate yearly progress" to use each year to determine the achievement of each school district and school.

Pursuant to 2.1-344(A) of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, on motion of Mr. Grinstead, seconded by Mr. Campbell, the board voted with 5 ayes and 1 nay to convene a closed meeting for the purpose of discussing the following specific matters: discussion of a real estate matter as authorized by 2.1-344(A)(3) of the Code of Virginia, and professional staff resignations, transfers, and professional and support staff new hires as authorized by 2.1-344(A)(1) of the Code of Virginia.

On motion of Mr. Choate, seconded by Mr. Doane, the board then returned to the open meeting.

WHEREAS, the Smyth County School Board has convened a closed meeting on this date pursuant to an affirmative recorded vote in accordance with the provision of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act:

WHEREAS, 2.1-344(D) of the Code of Virginia requires a certification by this school board that such closed meeting was conducted in conformity with Virginia law;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Smyth County School Board, by roll call, hereby certifies that, to the best of each member's knowledge (i) only public business matters lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements by Virginia law were discussed and (ii) only such public business matters as were identified in the motion by which the closed meeting was convened were heard, discussed or considered.

VOTE: Yes: 6 No: 0

Mrs. Hall was absent.

No action was taken on the real estate matter discussed.

On motion of Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Doane, the board voted to accept the resignations from Tracey S. Prater, a teacher at Rich Valley Elementary School and Lance Turner, a teacher at Sugar Grove School.

On motion of Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Choate, the board approved the following transfers:

  1. Rebecca Sawyers from Marion Intermediate to Chilhowie Elementary, 3rd Grade
  2. Robin Lewis from Northwood Middle to Chilhowie High, Earth Science
  3. Felicia Coulthard from Sugar Grove Combined to Rich Valley Elementary, 2nd Grade

On motion of Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Doane, the board approved the following new hires as recommended by the superintendent:

  1. Jennifer Testerman - Chilhowie Elementary - 4th Grade or Kindergarten
  2. Gary Horton - Chilhowie Middle - World Geography
  3. Derrick King - Chilhowie High - Health and Physical Education
  4. Melody Poe - Chilhowie High - Work and Family Studies
  5. Sam McKinney - Chilhowie High - Assistant Athletic Director
  6. Renee Roark - Marion Intermediate - 4th Grade
  7. Charles Blevins - Marion Intermediate - Special Education
  8. Randall Egan - Marion Middle, Marion Primary, Chilhowie Elementary - Elementary Music
  9. Cindy DiMarino - Marion Senior High - Health and Physical Education
  10. April Tickle - Northwood Middle School - 8th Grade Science
  11. Jennifer Harris - Sugar Grove Combined - Middle School
  12. Michelle Olinger - Sugar Grove Combined - 3rd Grade
  13. Arvin Hayden - Smyth Career and Technology Center - Building Trades
  14. Jennifer Barker - Chilhowie Elementary - Instructional Aide - Speech
  15. Nancy Sheffield - Chilhowie Elementary - Instructional Aide - Special Education
  16. Misty McCready - Chilhowie Elementary - Instructional Aide - Pre-School
  17. Diane Frye - Chilhowie Elementary - Instructional Aide - Special Education
  18. Marsha Sturgill - Marion Primary - Instructional Aide - Special Education
  19. Sandra Johnson - Marion Primary - Instructional Aide - Pre-K
  20. Bonita Frazier - Marion Primary - Instructional Aide - Special Education
  21. Carolyn Arthur - Marion Primary - Instructional Aide - Speech
  22. Ann Chambers - Marion Middle - Instructional Aide - Library
  23. Reba Cress - Marion Middle - Secretary, School Office
  24. Chris Royer - Smyth Career and Technology Center - Custodian

There were no votes against the motion. Mr. Grinstead abstained.

On motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Campbell, the board approved the recommendation to transfer the old Nebo School to the Board of Supervisors, contingent upon the community group obtaining 301C status. The Nebo property is no longer needed for school purposes.

The board received a report regarding installation and use of surveillance cameras in the lower parking lot at Marion Senior High School. The cost for the system would be between $15,000.00 and $20,000.00. It is recommended that the School Resource Officer continue monitoring the school parking lot instead of adding surveillance cameras at this time.

The board approved the draft of a required Confined Space policy on motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Doane.

The board considered the policy on posting "In God We Trust" signs. One citizen spoke against the Family Policy Network providing the signs. Dr. Winters has accepted the free signs for display in each of the schools as provided for by state law.

Dr. Winters reviewed the Reduction in Force policy.

Dr. Winters reviewed the fee schedules for the 2002-2003 school year for high and middle schools. Agriculture fees for 8th grade will be lowered from $12.00 to $8.00 and locker fees will be lowered from $7.00 to $6.00. The revised fee schedule was approved on motion of Mr. Grinstead, seconded by Mr. Doane.

On motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Grinstead, the board approved the revised steering committee for special education federal program monitoring.

The board reviewed the bids for surplus buses, trucks, and cars. Revenue from the sale totaled $10,642.00.

On motion of Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Catron, the board voted to approve the lowest boiler bid in the amount of ninety thousand six hundred dollars ($90,600) for the Chilhowie Middle/High Schools from Nor-Well Co., Inc., Elizabethton, Tennessee.

On motion of Mr. Grinstead, seconded by Mr. Doane, the board approved the requests from Sheri Yarber and Elder Newsome to provide home instruction for their children by selecting religious exemption.

The July payroll, paid July 31, 2002, checks #35604-35640, was approved on motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Campbell.

On motion of Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Catron, current invoices in the amount of $758,786.25 from the County School Operating Fund were ordered paid, the same to be listed in the warrant register.

On motion of Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Catron, current invoices in the amount of $516,952.23 from the County School Debt and Capital Outlay Fund were ordered paid, the same to be listed in the warrant register.

Mr. Catron requested that each school nurse meet with different sports teams and bands and their teachers and discuss the symptoms of heatstroke and exhaustion. On motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Doane, the request was approved.

Mr. Catron also suggested that the approved minutes of the school board meetings be added to the school board's web site.

Mr. Catron asked Dr. Winters to get board members copies of school resource officers' duties at the next board meeting.

Mr. Catron also asked if he should attend the Annual Fall VSBA meeting as an alternate since Mrs. Hall was going as a delegate. Dr. Hopkins replied in the affirmative.

Mr. Doane asked Dr. Winters to check on the advisability of a new fire hydrant at Chilhowie Elementary School when the new water hook up on the school-side of Highway 11 is complete.

On motion of Mr. Grinstead, seconded by Mr. Doane, the meeting was then continued to Monday, August 26, 2002, at 5:30 p.m.


Marion, Virginia
August 26, 2002

The Smyth County School Board met in a continued meeting with all members present. The meeting was scheduled to discuss employee health insurance.

Dr. Winters reported on the opening of school and said that everything went well. Membership figures totaled 4,968. This included the projected enrollment figures from Chilhowie Middle School and Chilhowie High School. The budget was based on 5,029 ADM. Chilhowie Middle School and Chilhowie High School will be ready to open on Wednesday, August 28th.

The insurance committee met prior to the board meeting. A representative from each school was present for the meeting.

Steve Darnell, representative of Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield, reviewed the health insurance options for 2002-2003. He also discussed the employee survey results.

On motion of Mr. Doane, seconded by Mr. Grinstead, the board voted to approve Renewal Option 1 of the Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan and to include the fully insured dental plan as opposed to the Administrative Services Option. This will include a 10/30/50 prescription card.

The Option 1 plan is as follows:

Blue Care 300
  Health Dental Total
Employee Only 314.92 18.05 332.97
Employee/One Minor 443.08 25.42 468.50
Family Plan 732.53 42.01 774.54
Key Care 500
  Health Dental Total
Employee Only 262.45 18.05 280.50
Employee/One Minor 369.28 25.42 394.70
Family Plan 610.52 42.01 652.51
Key Care 20
  Health Dental Total
Employee Only 305.05 18.05 323.10
Employee/One Minor 429.21 25.42 454.63
Family Plan 709.60 42.01 751.61

Dr. Hopkins updated the board regarding the superintendent's search. He had spoken to Mr. Underwood, the consultant, and he had received 19 completed application packets. The deadline for applications is September 24th. The consultant will come in on October 1st with six to eight finalists.

Mrs. Hall reported on the meeting she attended regarding No Child Left Behind.

On motion of Mr. Catron, seconded by Mrs. Hall, the meeting was adjourned.