Minutes of the October 9, 2006 Smyth County School Board Meeting

Saltville, Virginia

The Smyth County School Board met today for a regular meeting at 5:00 P.M., in the library at Saltville Elementary School, 1013 East Main Street, Saltville, Virginia.

CALL TO ORDER

After determination of a quorum being present, Chairman Choate called the meeting to order. He welcomed everyone attending the meeting.

The roll was called by the clerk, and the following members were present: Laura Hall, Jesse Choate, Roger Nipper, and Jerry Catron. Charles Doane and Kimberly Clark arrived at 5:15 P.M. Susan Sneed was absent.

CLOSED SESSION

Pursuant to § 2.2-3711 of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, on motion by Mr. Nipper, seconded by Mrs. Hall, by 4-0 vote, a closed meeting was declared for the purpose of discussing the following: personnel issues as authorized by § 2.2-3711(A)(1) of the Code of Virginia. The board members moved to the conference room at the school to continue the closed meeting.

Dr. Mike Robinson, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, was present for the closed meeting. Charles Doane and Kimberly Clark arrived in closed session at 5:15 P.M.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 4-0 vote, closed session ended. The board returned to the regular meeting in the library.

CERTIFICATION OF CLOSED 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; and

WHEREAS, § 2.2-3712(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 as were identified in the motion by which the closed meeting was convened were heard, discussed, or considered.

VOTE:

Ayes: 4
Nays: 0

AGENDA

After arriving after the motion was made to hold a closed meeting, Charles Doane and Kimberly Clark did not vote on any items from the closed meeting. They stayed for informational purposes only.

Susan Sneed was absent.

CONSENT AGENDA

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 6-0 vote, the following was approved:

INFORMATIONAL REPORTS

The board received information regarding the Career Fair to be held on Tuesday, October, 24, 2006, from 1:00 - 7:00 P.M., at the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator.

The board received a revised copy of the Smyth County School Board Schedule for School Visitations.

The board received information on the 2006 VSBA Annual Convention to be held in Williamsburg, Virginia, November 15-17, 2006.

The board received copies of the School Improvement Plans School Year 2005-2006 Accountability Reports.

PRESENTATIONS/RECOGNITIONS

Rich Valley Elementary School had the highest attendance percentage in the elementary category for the month of September. Jeff Cassell, Principal of Rich Valley Elementary School, introduced Kayla Davis, a fifth grader, and Brady Stiltner, a fourth grader, for having perfect attendance last year and perfect attendance for the first six weeks of this school year. They received a certificate for the school and will be retaining the flag from last spring.

Kyle Rhodes, Principal of Marion Middle School, introduced Will Rose, an eighth grader, for having perfect attendance. Will is also a member of the Marion Middle School's Players. He had just earned a part in a play to take place in Lynchburg, Virginia. Marion Middle School had the highest attendance percentage in the middle school category. They received a certificate for the school and will be retaining the flag from last spring.

Chilhowie High School had the highest attendance percentage in the high school category. Steve Reedy, Principal of Chilhowie High School, introduced Josh Sexton, a twelfth grader, for having good attendance for the past three years. They received a certificate for the school and will be retaining the flag from last spring.

There was not a most improved category for the month of September. Brenda Boone, Principal of Saltville Elementary School, recognized Janice Phillips, a teacher at the school, for being named the Conservation Teacher of the Year by The Evergreen Soil and Water Conservation District.

Mrs. Boone also recognized Andrea Rhea for being the second place winner in the Sherwood Anderson short story writing contest for elementary students and Cody Davidson for placing third.

Betty Webb, Guidance Counselor at Northwood Middle School, explained how the Food Back Pack Program works. This is a program that benefits students at Northwood Middle School, and they are in their second year participating in the program. Eighty-three students are participating in the program this year. Also present were Joan Blevins, Coordinator of the Program, Raymond Cross, Christina Rosenbaum, and Gary Mitchell.

Mr. Sullivan presented Mrs. Hall with a certificate and distinctive pin at the Distinction level from the VSBA Academy Awards. Board members, superintendent, and the clerk earned points for meetings they have attended. Other board members and the superintendent were presented with a Certificate of Recognition.

Mr. Choate thanked Brenda Boone, Principal of Saltville Elementary School, for allowing the board to hold the October meeting at Saltville Elementary School.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Eric Puckett, Assistant Chief of the Saltville Police Department, thanked the board for the new school flashing warning signs to be placed in front of Saltville Elementary School. Mr. Choate thanked him for all the work they do.

SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT/INFORMATIONAL UPDATES

Mr. Sullivan updated the board on student enrollment figures for school year 2006-2007. As of September 30, 2006, enrollment was 5,008.

Dr. Mike Robinson, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, reviewed class size figures for grades prek-5, 6-8, and 9-12 for the 2006-2007 school year.

The board discussed plans for a Joint Legislative Breakfast involving school board members, members of the board of supervisors, and legislators.

Mrs. Hall told the board they should make plans to attend the Veteran's Day Celebration to be held at Chilhowie Elementary School on Friday, November 10, 2006.

Mr. Sullivan presented Dan Kegley with a Commendation Certificate for the 2006 Media Honor Roll Program from the VSBA for his support of the school board and the students of Smyth County through his reporting in The Smyth County News & Messenger.

Mr. Sullivan informed the board that one truck and one van had been purchased for use in the maintenance department.

Ed Worley, Principal of Smyth Career & Technology Center, reported on that school's Annual School Improvement Plan.

Jeff Cassell, Principal of Rich Valley Elementary School, reported on that school's Annual School Improvement Plan.

Dr. Mike Robinson reviewed SOL scores, school accreditation, and AYP status.

Elizabeth Ballard, Business Decision Support Analyst, reviewed revenue, expenditures, and cash flow figures for the month of September, 2006, fiscal year 2006-2007.

DISCUSSION TOPICS

Dr. Robinson discussed essential characteristics of effective middle level schools.

QUESTIONS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Mr. Catron inquired about the telephone system for Northwood Middle School and Rich Valley Elementary School. If you are calling Northwood Middle School and both lines are busy, the call rolls over and is answered by Rich Valley Elementary School.

Mr. Sullivan assured him that he would check on this with Mr. Hawthorne and have him check with the telephone company about putting a block on it so it rings busy instead of rolling over to a different school.

Mrs. Hall reported that Smyth County was sending 44 students to the A. Linwood Holton Governor's School this year.

Mrs. Hall shared information she had received from a recent meeting on the final IDEA interpretation. She asked for the superintendent to pass this information on to Gary Collins.

Mrs. Hall reported on a workshop she had attending on Workers Compensation, Family Medical Leave, and Americans with Disabilities Act. She asked for the superintendent to pass this information on to Rick Blevins.

Mr. Choate discussed plans for holding a retreat for the board. The board asked for the superintendent to work on the planning for a retreat and bring back to the next board meeting some possible dates.

ACTION ITEMS - (MOTION REQUIRED)

On motion by Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 6-0 vote, the advisory committees were approved with the following corrections:

The board considered a request for students from Marion Senior High School's Family and Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) to attend a leadership conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, Friday, November 17, 2006. On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 6-0 vote, the request was approved.

The board considered a request from two foreign language teachers at Marion Senior High School to travel with students from Marion Senior High School to France and Italy in the summer of 2007 as presented by Danny Newman, Principal of Marion Senior High School, and Marlene Jonas, Foreign Language Teacher at Marion Senior High School. A motion was made by Mrs. Hall to start the process. The trip will be contingent upon student interest, the world conditions of the countries considered, and the understanding of the risks involved when students sign up that there is a potential of loosing a certain amount of money involved with foreign travel. Mrs. Clark seconded the motion. The motion was approved by 5-1 vote (Mr. Doane opposed).

The board considered bids on new roofs for Chilhowie High School, Marion Senior High School, and Atkins Elementary School as presented by Sam Musick, Director of Transportation and Maintenance. On motion by Mr. Doane, seconded by Mrs. Hall, by 6-0 vote, the board approved the lowest bid for all three schools from Marion Roofing & General Contracting, Inc., Marion, Virginia, in the amount of $136,800.00.

The board considered a request for the use of one school bus and one bus driver for the Wytheville Community College Educational Talent Search program for the date of Tuesday, November 7, 2006. On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Doane, by 6-0 vote, the request was approved.

The board considered a request for the use of one school bus and one bus driver for the Virginia Highlands Community College Educational Talent Search for the date of Saturday, October 28, 2006. On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 6-0 vote, the request was approved.

The board considered a field trip request for all 6th grade girls from our middle schools to attend a career awareness program in Abingdon, Virginia, one day in November. On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 6-0 vote, the request was approved.

The board considered additional compensation for employees who have completed one-half of an advanced degree program and taking a minimum of six semester hours toward matriculation to include (in addition to Master's degree) the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies or a Doctorate-the percentage rate to be the same as the present rate used for one-half masters (28.623%) as recommended by the budget committee. On motion by Mr. Nipper, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 6-0 vote, the recommendation was approved.

The board considered a "roll call vote" as a general practice for board meetings. A motion was made by Mr. Catron for the "roll call vote" not to be considered at this time. Mr. Nipper seconded the motion. The motion was approved by a 5-1 vote (Mrs. Clark opposed).

CONSIDER ACTION ON CLOSED SESSION ITEMS

Mr. Doane and Mrs. Clark did not vote on any of the closed session items.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 4-0 vote, Gary Arnold was hired as an assistant golf coach at Chilhowie High School and Kayla Prater was hired as an assistant volleyball coach at Northwood High School, and she will receive only 1/2 pay as an adjustment for starting late.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 4-0 vote, the board accepted the resignation of Pam Ramirez as a food service employee at Marion Middle School effective September 22, 2006.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 4-0 vote, the board approved up to twelve weeks of unpaid Family Medical Leave for:

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 4-0 vote, the board extended the hours for Kevin Leonard, a custodian at Atkins Elementary School, from 40 hours per week to 45 hours per week.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 4-0 vote, the board hired Jessica S. Trent as a PALS/2nd grade instructional aide at Sugar Grove Combined School to replace Kelly Bogle.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 4-0 vote, the board transferred Thomas Fred Blevins to the school board maintenance department county-wide in a new position from a custodial position at Marion Senior High School.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 4-0 vote, the board hired Deborah Sue Trail as a school nutrition assistant at Marion Middle School to replace Kathy Ashby.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Catron, by 4-0 vote, the board accepted the recommendation from the superintendent to terminate Barry K. Blevins as a school board maintenance employee effective October 9, 2006.

On motion by Mrs. Hall, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 4-0 vote, the board approved the recommendation from the superintendent to change the employment status of a teacher on suspension with pay to suspension without pay.

Mrs. Hall announced that the board has initiated the search for a new superintendent. Interested applicants can check the school board's web-site.

Mr. Sullivan thanked Brenda Boone and her staff for hosting the school board meeting.

On motion by Mr. Catron, seconded by Mr. Nipper, by 6-0 vote, the meeting adjourned.