Broughton seeks more BOE input on school facilities

Rick Wagner • May 3, 2013 at 11:18 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County school board member Todd Broughton remains a one-vote minority when it comes to wanting a board member directly involved with the acceptance of new school facilities.

The Board of Education voted 5-1 with one absent Monday night on a language change in “Policy 3.215 Board Inspection and Acceptance of New Facilities” on the second of three readings.

The current policy reads that the project architect and “board’s representative” shall inspect new construction after the contractor indicates it is completed and that the project will not be accepted until both agree.

The change would strike a board representative and replace it with the “director of schools or his designee.”

Broughton said he reads current policy to mean a member of the board should be involved, but other board members and Director of Schools Jubal Yennie said it meant, and practice has been, someone representing the board’s interest.

But Broughton said Monday that former BOE members have told him the wording was meant to allow a board member input on acceptance of the building.

“I hate to be negative, but the past is the past, and those board members are already gone.” BOE member Betty Combs of Bluff City said

Now, on the not yet accepted Ketron Elementary project in Broughton’s Bloomingdale district, Assistant Director Gene Johnson and Maintenance Director Joe Davenport are representing the board, Yennie said.

Broughton has been critical of the Ketron project, which has had roof leaks, a football field sinkhole, drainage issues and retaining wall cracks, although officials have said those problems are being addressed or, in the case of the cracks, are within acceptable standards. It opened to students in August 2012 after a more than $15 million renovation and enlargement.

Broughton asked the BOE to table the vote and bring it up later, although all but him and absent Chairman Dan Well, recovering from a heart attack, voted for it. Other members are Vice Chairman Jack Bales of Sullivan Gardens, Robyn Ivester of Piney Flats, Randall Jones of Indian Springs and Jerry Greene of Bristol.

On other maters Monday, the BOE:

•Approved 2013-14 common student fees, which would be the same as the current year.

•Approved a proposed new class called introduction to mobile app development, which Yennie said may be offered in one class in one high school next year.

•On third and final readings approved revamped alternative credit options policy encompassing correspondence, online and dual enrollment; formalized a longstanding sick leave bank in the sick leave policy, formalized long-standing expenses and reimbursements policy and changed requisitions policy to reflect current practice.

•For the second time tabled, on Yennie’s recommendation, a proposed security supervisor position to cost an estimated $50,000 to $55,000 a year until the budget is prepared.

In addition, the board reached consensus on holding a 2013-14 budget work session 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 20.

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