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Davis becomes third Carter School Board member to resign this year

John Thompson • Updated Sep 13, 2018 at 9:40 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Vice Chairman Craig Davis has announced he will be leaving the Carter County School Board following the end of the September board meeting. Davis becomes the third member to resign from the board in the past few months, each with different reasons.

Davis said health problems were the reason he is stepping down. He said he has been struggling with “pulmonary problems” since July. “This 35-year-old mind can’t work with a 70-year-old body,” Davis said.

Davis was serving his first session chairing the school board during a workshop session on Thursday. He took over the leadership of the board because the former chairman, Rusty Barnett, resigned two weeks ago when he became Carter County’s mayor.

Davis said “I am a tired old man” and he said the board will have a busy year because it will be searching for a new director of schools. Kevin Ward announced previously that he would retire at the end of the school year.

Davis said he will resign immediately following the school board meeting next Thursday.

The third member of the board to have recently left was Steve Hyder, who stepped down when he moved his residence, no longer living in the district he represented. Creola Miller was elected to the seat vacated by Hyder.

Danny Ward will take the seat formerly held by Barnett. With the deadline for qualifying for the Nov. 6 election now passed, Ward was the only candidate to qualify. He will be the only candidate on the ballot in the race for the seat.

Davis’ replacement will probably be appointed by the County Commission, since there will be no more elections until 2020.

Some of the items discussed Thursday included a mention of the director of schools search, including a mention of the services of Wayne Qualls, of Franklin, to assist in the search. Qualls was said to be less expensive than the search service provided by the Tennessee School Board Association.

In other matters, board member LaDonna Stout-Boone said there was a problem in the school system with the use of tobacco. She said using tobacco in school is a violation of state law. She also said signs are supposed to be conspicuously posted about schools being a tobacco-free area.

Stout-Boone also said the board needed to consider raising teachers’ pay. Elementary Supervisor Mike Miller agreed with her statement, saying the county spends a lot of money training teachers, only to see them move to higher paying school districts.

Supervisor Ronnie Taylor said the school system has received a security grant of $157,760. He said the funds will be used to install additional security fencing, cameras, door buzzers, and gun safes for school resource officers.

Ward said he will recommend during next week’s school board meeting that $5,500 be taken from reserves to pay for substitute nurses whenever regular school nurses must be away from a school. The move is in response to concerns from the parents of children with diabetes.

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