By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
There was standing room only at the most recent gathering of the Tucker County Board of Education for multiple reasons. After The Pledge of Allegiance and President Tim Turner calling the meeting to order, he addressed those wishing to speak in the audience. School Cook and mother of two seniors Donna Cross was called on first. She had her thoughts on paper as she addressed the board requesting to see the policy in place that states seniors who graduate early are not allowed to attend their senior trip, but they are allowed to go to prom and walk at graduation. She explained how the students should have been informed of this their freshman year when planning their four years at the high school, not just last week as her daughter Lacey was. “This is not OK,” she stated as she mentioned the numerous fundraisers these students have participated in over the years to fund this trip. “These students feel like they’re being punished for being good,” Cross added. She suggested signing a waiver stating the school would not be liable for any accidents on the trip. “This is uncalled for this late in the game,” she said.
Her daughter Lacey, one of the students graduating in December and wishing to attend the trip, also addressed the board members. Her intentions after graduation are to go directly into taking college or professional courses to seek certification and education right away. She also stated if she had known of this policy, she would likely not be graduating early so she could attend with her twin sister and classmates.
Valerie Eye, DTEMS teacher and mother of an early graduating senior, also attended to share her feelings on the policy. Eye was informed there was not a policy in place at this time, so they would rely on past practices, which is in fact they are not allowed to go. She agreed with D. Cross that a waiver should be considered or an option for those graduating early can go on their own senior trip in December. “I stand with these girls as well as some of their classmates,” she continued stating they feel they’re being punished for being over achievers.
Eye spoke with Mrs. Dotson, a senior class representative, who said she feels bad for the students graduating early because she too was unaware they couldn’t go and if she had known, she would have informed them.
Turner told the crowd that, because this topic is not on the agenda, the board policy states they cannot discuss it, however he thanked them for bringing it to the board’s attention and it will be placed on the next agenda for discussion.
Recognitions and presentations followed with Tucker County Athletic Director Jonathan Hicks recognizing the TCHS Girls Cross Country Team, who qualified for states for the second time in school history. He thanked coaches Jack and Michele Mullenex and Courtney Nestor for their dedication to the team. He recognized each member as President Turner presented them with a certificate. M. Mullenex took a moment to thank their sponsors and recognize the hosting of their first home meet at Camp Kidd, which is planned to continue next season.
This season boasted 14 girls and 11 boys, with M. Mullenex stating, “Both groups of kids, boys and girls, were a great group of kids,” and noted of the girls, 12 will be returning next season. “I am very proud of these girls,” she stated.
There were no reports and under informational items, all that was to be mentioned was two additional Special Education Teachers will receive the Employee three step increment pay. Discussion items included the Student Success Act of 2019, which was covered later in the work session.
Moving into new business, Board Member Cathy Hebb made a motion of approval of consent agenda items with Vice President Daniel “Chopper” Evans making a second. Hebb requested clarification on the budget adjustments to which Finance Director Tracy Teets stated it was a larger amount due to the receiving of CTE and Math for Life grants. There was one notification of intent to home school. Once it is confirmed the parent’s proof of education is one file, this notice can be recognized. The Tucker County Young Life requested the use of a bus and driver for transportation to Jackson’s Mill on November 22 and 24, 2019. Evans abstained from voting due to his affiliation with the group, and all requests were approved unanimously.
Superintendent Alicia Lambert recommended the approval of the following: resignation of Heather Clower, part time Agriculture Science Teacher at TCHS, and removal of Tammy Knotts as Substitute Cook for failure to returned signed, original contract in a timely manner. Both were approved.
Financial statements were reviewed and approved as well as the calendar of events. A brief work session followed the adjournment of the regular session where the requests of the three county schools were reviewed once again on paper. Discussion commenced regarding the highest priorities to meet the needs of the students as well as their safety and well being.
Of the top priorities are two interventionists for the elementary grade students, an third maintenance person, and the TVEMS intercom system. The doors at DTEMS are also of high concern as well. Each board member will take the lists home to decide which they feel is of upmost importance while Lambert will work towards gathering more monetary values for each of the requests to consider.
The next regular session of the Tucker County Board of Education will take place on Monday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m., followed by a work session.