Carter school board elects new leaders; gives Christmas bonus to paraprofessionals

John Thompson • Sep 20, 2018 at 7:54 PM

ELIZABETHTON — During Thursday’s monthly meeting, the Carter County School Board elected new leaders, said farewell to some of its longtime members and voted to once again give the school system’s paraprofessional employees the same Christmas bonus it has given during the past few Christmases.

Jerry Stout was elected the new chairman of the board and Tony Garland is the new vice chairman.

Danny Ward, the newest member of the board, was welcomed. He was elected by the Carter County Commission on Monday to fill the vacancy left by Rusty Barnett, the former board chairman who has become the county’s mayor. Ward has a deeper understanding than most newly appointed or elected board members because he has just ended a term on the County Commission in which he was Education Committee chairman.

The dommission appointed Ward to the position only until the November election, but since Ward is the only candidate on the ballot for the school board seat, he will continue after that as the elected member from the 4th District.

Barnett attended the meeting in his new role and was accompanied by the new members of the commission’s Education Committee. The committee members were welcomed and invited to attend all the board meetings.

The board also said farewell to Craig Davis, who submitted his resignation immediately following the meeting.

Stout said it has been a pleasure working with Davis and said “he will be missed.”

Davis said he is leaving the board because of his health. Davis said he has become tired all the time and did not have any energy. He thanked the Johnson City Press for its story last weeks on his plans to retire for health reasons. He said some had said he was resigning because of the upcoming search for a new director of schools.

David said he would have enjoyed taking part in finding the new director and would have enjoyed fighting for the candidate he believed was the best if he had had the stamina to do it.

He said the cause of his condition and has not yet been figured out by doctors and he felt he should resign because he was not able to give his best.

“I will miss it. The mind is willing, but the body is unable,” Davis said.

The County Commission will elect a new board member for the 1st District during its October meeting. Because of early voting for the November election, it is too late to change the ballot to allow a vote for a new board member. That means the commission’s choice for Davis’ seat will serve on the board for two years.

The school board’s vote to provide the bonus for the non-teaching employees must be approved by the commission in October. The recommended bonus was $250 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees.

Davis said it was good to give the bonus, but he said the board should consider raising the pay of employees.

In other matters, the board heard from Supervisor Terry Hubbard about a $25,000 grant that will allow 25 students to intern in schools and the county government. She said 25 students will participate this semester and about 20 more in the second semester.

In answer to some questions from board member Ladonna Stout-Boone, Hubbard said the opportunity was advertised and about six students were selected from each high school. She said only seniors who are in school for a half-day are participating. She said each student works about two hours per day, three days a week on the internship.

The board’s attorney, John Banks, advised the board on a real estate matter in which a citizen sought a right of way on some property at Happy Valley High School. Banks told the board that the state had detailed law on how a board must dispose of property.

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