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Brock steps down from JC school board ahead of City Commission contest

Jennifer Sprouse • Jan 7, 2013 at 10:16 PM

The Johnson City Board of Education said goodbye to one of its own Monday night, as member Jenny Brock stepped down from her post she’s held for six years.

Submitting her formal resignation to Board Chair Kathy Hall and Johnson City Schools Superintendent Richard Bales on Friday, Brock said the decision to resign came as she declared her candidacy for an open position on the City Commission that will be up for grabs in the next election on April 23.

“While I could have stayed on the board through the election cycle, I felt it was in the best interest of the school system to have a clear and timely path preceding a new board member,” she said.

Brock said that by stepping down it would give her successor time to fill out paperwork to take over her vacant seat on the board.

She spoke briefly of her goals and aspirations for running for the City Commission, but said the decision to leave the board of education was not an easy one to make.

“It was with a lot of sadness that I’m leaving my post on the school board because at the heart, I’m a teacher. I spent about 15 years in education myself, and so it’s been very rewarding to serve on the school board and to see where we’ve come,” she said. “Serving on the board of education has been an honor and I’m grateful to the citizens of Johnson City for giving me this opportunity.”

As school resource officers (SROs) are the big topics in school systems around the region following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Johnson City Schools seemed to follow suit Monday night.

“We currently have ... six full-time SROs located at Science Hill High School, also one at the alternative center and CTE building, one at (Liberty Bell Middle School), one at (Indian Trail Intermediate School) and then we have two officers at the elementary schools,” Bales said.

He said while the officers at the high school, alternative center, CTE building, Liberty Bell and Indian Trail are all locally funded, the two elementary school positions are funded by The Heroes Grant, which is scheduled to run out in June.

Hall spoke on the grant, saying that she believed it to be a model for all school systems and that she would like to see an SRO in every school.

“The Heroes Grant that’s in place, I think, addresses so many of the needs that a lot of school systems should be looking at. It’s not only the safety and security and hardware, but it’s also the mental support and I know that this is our last year of The Heroes Grant and I think it’s important that we do everything we can to continue as many services as we can,” she said.”

Richard Manahan, vice chair of the board, requested the costs of the current SROs, as well as what it would take to have an SRO in each school in the system, saying that putting an SRO in each of the schools should be a No.1 priority.

“It’s more than just the security issue. It’s also the educational process of how to deal with authority and officers and how to respect them and have the respect of the students in the process,” Manahan said. “Another reason I wanted to bring this up ... is I’m not really interested in our principals and teachers having to carry weapons.”

Hall said a security update would be added for the next agenda.

Instruction and Facilities Supervisor Dave Chupa also gave a facilities update Monday.

He said that Woodland and South Side elementary schools’ new roofs were moving along with the ballast being removed, and that masons were on-site to construct the new walls at Indian Trail.

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