Hawkins BOE tables spending proposals pending workshop

Jeff Bobo • May 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

ROGERSVILLE — The Hawkins County Board of Education tabled several spending decisions Tuesday so that they can be discussed in more detail at a budget workshop scheduled for May 9.

Board chairman Randy Collier said it’s likely that a special called meeting will be scheduled in mid-May for the board to vote on its proposed 2013-14 budget. The May 9 budget workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the bus shop meeting room.

As of last month’s budget workshop Hawkins County was working on reducing a $3 million deficit in the proposed 2013014 budget.

The BOE informally agreed last month that it will attempt to approve its 2013-14 school budget this month in time to present it to the county commission’s Budget Committee before county budget hearings begin the last week of May.

Among the issues tabled from Tuesday’s BOE agenda was a new proposed 2013-14 salary scale which is expected to increase spending $100,000 to $150,000 in the next fiscal year budget.

During a budget workshop last month school finance director Myron Dale told the BOE that the new salary scale increases pay for non-certified employees closer to the level those positions are paid in Tennessee school systems similar to Hawkins County’s size.

Dale noted that non-certified employees across Hawkins County are underpaid, particularly office staff such as accountants and bookkeepers.

Another spending proposal postponed by the BOE Tuesday was maintenance director Bill Shedden’s request to purchase a backhoe from low bidder Tri-County Power Equipment for $45,769; as well as a boom lift from low bidder East Tennessee Rent-all for $22,500.

Shedden wasn’t able to attend Tuesday’s meeting but a letter he’d written explaining the request was read allowed to the board.

Shedden explained in the letter that in the past 18 months when he had to rent a backhoe or lift there were delays due to the equipment not being available, or being out of service for repairs.

Overall the school maintenance department spent $18,074 over the past 18 months either renting a backhoe, or hiring a contractor to operate a backhoe because a rental wasn’t available.

Expenses for boom lift rental the past 18 month was $1,921, but there are new projects this summer in which a boom will be rented as well.

The backhoe purchase is already included in Shedden’s 2012-13 budget, but the boom lift is not. Shedden indicated that the boom lift would be the higher priority purchase.

Dale said Shedden still has $151,000 in his budget to make these two purchases in the current fiscal year.

Board vice-chairman Holly Helton made the motion to table the boom and backhoe purchases because Shedden will be available to answer questions at the May 9 workshop.

The BOE also tabled consideration of a custodial services contract with GCA Service Group for $66,900 at Church Hill Intermediate School.

In other business Tuesday the BOE:

• Approved by a vote of 6-1 a low bid of $101,035 from Rhoton Floor Covering to remove carpeting and replace old tile in the vocational buildings at Cherokee and Volunteer high schools. Both buildings will receive new vinyl tile throughout except in the rest- rooms which will receive ceramic tile. Board members Mike Williams and Chris Christian questioned the need to have an architect participate in smaller projects such as flooring replacement. Williams noted that it likely resulted in an unnecessary expenditure for the architect’s fee.

• Scheduled a BOE Policy Committee meeting for May 23 at 6 p.m. to discuss ideas pertaining to appropriate and inappropriate communications between students and teachers outside of school; and if any existing policies need to be changed or new policies added.

• Approved a new employee agreement for Hawkins County School employees for the 2013-14 school year. Director of Schools Charlotte Britton told the Board that the only change from the current school year employment agreement is that all employees are now required to take an oath swearing to uphold the Tennessee Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

• Heard a report from Britton that a county schools wellness 5K “Fun Run” which had been postponed in March due to inclement weather will be held Saturday at Rogersville City Park. Registration is at 7:45 a.m. and the run begins at 8:30 a.m.

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