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December 10, 2019 at 12:00 PM - Called Board Meeting

Minutes
1. Approve contract with Markland Behavioral Services from December 20, 2019-December 20, 2020 for behavioral services.
Recommended Motion(s):  Motion was made by Board Member #1, second by Board Member #2 to approve a Contract with Markland Behavioral Services from December 20, 2019-December 20, 2020 for behavioral services. Motion carried.
Action(s):
Motion was made by Eddie Pless, second by Danny O'Quinn to approve a Contract with Markland Behavioral Services from December 20, 2019-December 20, 2020 for behavioral services. Motion carried.
  • Dr. Grover May: Absent
  • Rita Booher: aye
  • Phil Isaacs: aye
  • Danny O'Quinn: aye
  • Eddie Pless: aye
No Action(s) have been added to this Agenda Item.
Discussion:  Dr. Gardenhour stated these services would be utilized for a student we currently have and would also be used for any other students, providing ABA therapy.
Attachments:
2. Approve Contract with STOPit Solutions in accordance with Tennessee Risk Management Trust for an anti-bullying app for children to use in Elizabethton City Schools.
Recommended Motion(s):  Motion was made by Board Member #1, second by Board Member #2 to approve a Contract with STOPit Solutions in accordance with Tennessee Risk Management Trust for an anti-bullying app for children to use in Elizabethton City Schools. Motion carried.
Action(s):
Motion was made by Phil Isaacs, second by Danny O'Quinn to approve a Contract with STOPit Solutions in accordance with Tennessee Risk Management Trust for an anti-bullying app for children to use in Elizabethton City Schools. Motion carried.
  • Dr. Grover May: Absent
  • Rita Booher: aye
  • Phil Isaacs: aye
  • Danny O'Quinn: aye
  • Eddie Pless: aye
No Action(s) have been added to this Agenda Item.
Discussion:  This Contract will help with the reporting of bullying in our school system.  These apps have helped students feel more comfortable reporting this behavior.  Mr. VanHuss will be doing some training on the app.
Attachments:
3. Discussion about the creation of a resolution to be delivered to City Council to request a bond issue in the amount of $1.2 million dollars for improvements at T. A. Dugger Jr. High School.
Discussion:  Dr. Gardenhour provided two documents for the Board Members to look over and study further before a decision is made.  We've discussed this with City Council and know that looking at the bonds; we don't have enough right now.  But based on the correction we've received, we could access about 1.2 million dollars.  If you look on page four of the document that has the city seal, it shows the bond constraint at $800,000.00, the 1.2 million dollars,  and borrowing capacity that's there, based on the half-cent sales tax funds we currently have.  Then look at our existing debt service and what we're paying.  If you look at the last two columns and the current debt service we have, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of $632,400.00 and the new debt service we would have, and there would be about $717,000.00.  We know our bond payment would go up to around $800,000.00 and what it's generating right now, it's probably approximately $899,000.00 per year, and we would be making a payment of about $800,000.00, based on a few months ago.  Dr. Gardenhour directed the question to Beth Wilson, and she stated that last year it generated about $899,000.00, and this year it's been just a little bit more.  Dr. Gardenhour said we would still have some excess that would go into an account that we could use for other capital projects, or emergency issues should they arise, and then we could still comfortably make the payment.  What we would be getting from the 1.2 million dollars would be a couple of large items we would need to begin with could be the roof and the existing restrooms within the building.  We are in the process of trying to get an idea about the exact amounts of what the cost would be for us to be able to do both of those projects.   Estimates are around 700,000.00 to do all the roofs at T. A. Dugger.
Some roof repairs are almost brand new, and we wouldn't touch.  One of the flat roofs was replaced six or seven years ago.  Everything else would need to be replaced.  The bathrooms would be about half a million dollars.   If we had any excess, our goal would be to look at hardening the entrance of the front of T. A. Dugger.  These would be the three things we would try to do.  We're not asking the Board to vote at this point until you have hard numbers and can see what we're going to get, and we would do that in conjunction with  City Council.  We're at a crossroads as they called today and asked what we want to do.   The choices are; (1) we approve the 1.2 million dollars, make the $800,000.00 payment and do that for several years until 2026.  At that point, we would have a lot of debt rolling off to look at doing the entire project at that time, with the addition of the classrooms; (2) we had discussed looking at a combination of possibly raising taxes, and raising tuition considerably.  Dr. Gardenhour stated his opinion on that is if we change tuition, we may lose the people we have.  There are operating dollars that come with tuition, which has enabled us to get to the point where we are with our tuition revenue.  If we based part of the payment on the increase of tuition, it would mean raising tuition on average $500.00 per child; (3) and the last option we have is to do nothing and wait until 2026, let this money accrue to where we would have that money and a better chance at getting everything done in 2026.  But he stated that the roofing project must be completed. 
A lot of money has been spent repairing the roof, and something needs to be done in the restrooms as well.  Ms. Booher asked the question if the roof replacement and restrooms would be part of what would be done if we had the entire amount of money to complete everything at T. A Dugger.  Dr. Gardenhour stated that the 4.5 million dollar number does not include the roof and restrooms.  He also noted that the other possibility would be the County doing something during that period, and we would then have the money to be able to take care of it at that point, maybe within the next three or four years.  Dr. Gardenhour then asked the Board Members how they felt and for their input.  Mr. Isaacs asked what the timetable was to give an answer or convey our intentions to City Council.  Dr. Gardenhour stated there was not a time crunch, but they want to refinance the bonds that we currently have because the interest rates are so low.  If they could do that, it would save us both money.  It would reduce the overall debt capacity and allow them to do other projects as well. They would love to know what our intentions are, have a resolution to them by January 9th.  If we say we want to wait until 2026, they're going to go ahead with their projects, increasing their debt load for those projects.  If we decide to move forward with our projects, they're going to take that into account.  Mr. Pless asked Dr. Gardenhour if he thought it would take 5.7 million dollars to do everything at T. A Dugger. He also asked if Dr. Gardenhour thought that the lump sum at T. A. Dugger would be available in 2026, or 4.5 million dollars would be available if we went ahead and completed the projects now.  Dr. Gardenhour stated yes, those were his thoughts.  Mr. Isaacs stated he didn't think the roof could last until 2026.  Dr. Gardenhour said we could bandaid and repair again if necessary.   Mr. Pless asked if the thought process for the addition tie into the existing roof.  Dr. Gardenhour stated that it would.  He also said the additions would disrupt the roof, depending on the design we choose. We've done some major patching, and it's almost at a 30-year lifespan.  Mr. Isaacs asked if the restroom repairs take some of the expense off the overall project.  Dr. Gardenour said yes, that part of the 4.5 million was to do the bathrooms on the inside.  And because of the ability to hold community events in the auditorium and allowing the public access to those restrooms.   The renovation would be to put restrooms in the middle of both floors.  Mr. Pless asked if the 4.5 million dollars does or does not take care of the restrooms.  Dr. Gardenhour stated that the 4.5 million would take care of the restrooms but not the roof.  Mr. Issacs asked if the $500,000.00 we can do the portion of the 4.5 out of the 1.2 million, and Dr. Gardenhour replied yes.   Mr. O'Quinn asked if we were talking about building new restrooms or renovating the old restrooms.   Dr. Gardenhour stated we would be renovating the current restrooms and building an addition down the road.  Mr. Isaacs asked if it would be any benefit to us as a Board to meet with Mr. Weems in a workshop and discuss things.  Mr. O'Quinn stated he would like to know why the renovations on the restrooms were so expensive.  Dr. Gardenhour explained that we'll be ripping out all plumbing and electrical and that it's not cosmetic.  Mr. Pless asked if there would be male and female on the first floor on the same end or are we still just having a male on one end and female on the other end and the opposite on the second floor.    Dr. Gardenhour stated we would probably keep it like it is.  Mr. Pless was concerned for those having disabilities to access the restrooms on the second floor.  Dr. Gardenhour said he'd asked Mr. Weems to come to the meeting, but he was unable to make it.  He is willing to walk us through the process and what their thinking is concerning the renovations. He also stated he didn't want to approve Mr. Weems to get started on the plans before the first meeting with the Board.  He also agreed with Mr. Pless that the Board needed to have an idea of what they wanted to do before the next Board Meeting, which is next Tuesday, December 17th, but if we decide to hold off, then we leave it as is and investigate it more.  Mr. Pless said we don't get big things like this very often and asked if we could go much passed the January deadline instead of feeling rushed to make a decision.  He also said he would rather be more informed.  Ms. Booher stated that she felt City Council just wanted to take our pulse on the matter and ask Mr. Weems to put something together.  She also said since she's been on the Board that T. A. Dugger has always been pushed back because it was so hard to combine with other things.  She said she would love it if we could give them (T. A. Dugger) something at some point.  Mr. Isaacs stated that at some point, we might not have a choice with the roof.  I wonder if we have some excess half-cent sales tax if that would accumulate enough to make improvements to the roof without the 1.2 million.   Ms. Wilson said at the end of the year; we had about $600,000.00 excess.  Ms. Booher stated we didn't want to deplete that too much.  Dr. Gardenhour said he thinks what city council wants is a direction at this point, and if we want to use existing half-cent sales tax money, I think they would say yes, use that money.  At the same time, I think they're concerned that we keep a balance in that account if something came up, we could use that money for capital or emergency need.  Mr. Pless said knowing the community doing the big thing is such a big deal and doing it right.  He said he didn't want it to fall apart.  It's a special place, and we need to figure out how to get it done right and as quickly as possible.  He said seven more years sounds like a hard pill to swallow.  Dr. Gardenhour asked that they go back to the tuition issue.  Mr. Pless said we were the best bargain anywhere in the state as far as our tuition prices are concerned.  He stated that some people think it's too good of a deal.  We don't want to mess that up in losing teachers, etc.  I think you'd at least have to say that it doesn't seem good to do.  Ms. Booher said she does think tuition needs to be increased a little over time.  Dr. G said the talk was to use the 1.2 and raise taxes by one penny.  Since it is an election year, Dr. Gardenhour asked the board members if they thought a raise in taxes was possible.  Mr. Isaacs stated he doesn't feel comfortable asking for a tax increase. Mr. Pless stated that we don't normally do that even when it's not an election year.  Dr. Gardenhour said he thought raising the tuition and having a sales tax increase would be a fantastic situation for us, however, looking at the likelihood that we would have a soft approach to be able to pay that money.  Ms. Booher said after talking to Curt and the City Manager, they want  T. A. Dugger as much as we do, but the city can't afford it right now.   The 1.2 million doesn't hurt our payments, and we could do a few things there.   Then when all the debt rolls off, that gives us much more room.  Mr. Isaacs asked if the 1.2 million would delay the 2026 goal.  Dr. Gardenhour said there was no way to know that, but they felt comfortable that as a city, that's a time where we can take on more debt.  The indebtedness and way we can get bonds mean we have to have to make Principal payments upfront and no longer make interest payments and keep moving the principal down the road.  If we want to be able to get a bond issue the dity and the school system have to be together and then we have to get special permission from the Comptroller to be able to do that.  That puts up a barrier because we also know on the city side with the council.  Right now, we have a council that is very much behind the school system.  We hope that's going to increase with more opportunities.  Another thing that's on the horizon and will change our fortune sales tax-wise is they are going to be taxing internet items.  This should change how much we receive in sales tax.  We can ask the city to push the decision back to gain more information.  Ms. Booher asked if we wanted to wait until Tuesday night to decide to ask Tom Weems to put some things together?  Mr. Isaacs stated that there was no way we should turn down money.  We don't want to lose the opportunity to use this 1.2 million dollars.   Mr. Pless asked if he felt we were still looking at 5.5 million in 2026.  Dr. Gardenhour said yes because costs to build will increase.  Mr. Pless said he would love to tell T. A. Dugger that this is their pot, that there's money set aside, and we don't end up using for something else.  He stated he did understand that it's tough.  Dr. Gardenhour asked if the board felt they should wait.  The Board agreed that they just wanted more information before making a decision.  Dr. Gardenhour asked what type of information they needed to make a decision.  They agreed that they wanted to know how much money would be generated through tuition, sit down with Tom Weems, look at the big picture what the best thing we could do if we take that money.   Mr. Isaacs also brought attention to the area behind the school where the grandstands were torn down and how he felt something needed to be done back there.  Even though it's not a pressing issue, he felt it should be addressed.  Dr. Gardenhour said we would probably need to truck in dirt back there and progressively grade it where we won't have a landslide.  We probably need a berm there.   Mr. O'Quinn stated it could be fixed at the same time the addition takes place at T. A. Dugger. Dr. Gardenhour said we would get a picture of tuition and what that looks like and speak with Mr. Weems.  We will probably get a contract to have to pay for work by  Mr. Weems to get the paperwork to us before we can make a decision. We already have some data for core drilling and soil samples to get an idea of what we have going into the project.  We will ask the city council if they can hold off a little bit until we can get this information together.  Mr. Isaacs asked if delaying would hurt the bond.  Dr. G stated Mr. Delaney had said he thought the bond market might stay decently stable.  
4. Approve Bid No. 2019-2020-03 from Armstrong Construction Company for completion of the STEM Lab at Elizabethton High School in the amount of $150,300.00.
Recommended Motion(s):  Motion was made by Board Member #1, second by Board Member #2 to approve Bid No. 2019-2020-03 from Armstrong Construction Company for the completion of the STEM Lab at Elizabethton High School in the amount of $150,300.00. Motion carried.
Action(s):
Motion was made by Phil Isaacs, second by Danny O'Quinn to approve Bid No. 2019-2020-03 from Armstrong Construction Company for the completion of the STEM Lab at Elizabethton High School in the amount of $150,300.00. Motion carried.
  • Dr. Grover May: Absent
  • Rita Booher: aye
  • Phil Isaacs: aye
  • Danny O'Quinn: aye
  • Eddie Pless: aye
No Action(s) have been added to this Agenda Item.
Discussion:  This bid is to help us with our STEM Lab. Thanks to the TCAT folks for their help.  We have a compliant bidder, and had five bidders driving the price down.  Mr. Pless asked if this was being paid for by XQ Year 1 budget. Dr. Gardenhour stated we have Year 1 money there and have been saving it to be able to do these projects and still have a little bit left that City Council appropriated from the half-cent sales tax for us to use which is about $11,000.00 to $12,000.00.  Mr. O'Quinn thought it was important to note that we aren't using school funds for this project and that XQ funds were set aside to be used specifically for this purpose. 
5. Approve the purchase of 110 touchpad Chrome Books for Special Education Classrooms for student use in the amount of $30,690.00.  These Chrome Books will be purchased using IDEA and donation funds through the cooperative purchasing program.
Recommended Motion(s):  Motion was made by Board Member #1, second by Board Member #2 to approve the purchase of 110 touchpad Chrome Books for Special Education Classrooms for student use in the amount of $30,690.00. These Chrome Books will be purchased using IDEA and donation funds through the cooperative purchasing program. Motion carried.
Action(s):
Motion was made by Eddie Pless, second by Danny O'Quinn to approve the purchase of 110 touchpad Chrome Books for Special Education Classrooms for student use in the amount of $30,690.00. These Chrome Books will be purchased using IDEA and donation funds through the cooperative purchasing program. Motion carried.
  • Dr. Grover May: Absent
  • Rita Booher: aye
  • Phil Isaacs: aye
  • Danny O'Quinn: aye
  • Eddie Pless: aye
No Action(s) have been added to this Agenda Item.
Discussion:  These will help instruction in the classroom.
6. Approve Independent Auditors' Report of Elizabethton, Tennessee Board of Education Internal School Funds-Regulatory Basis, School Activity Funds Audit Report, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019.
Recommended Motion(s):  Motion was made by Board Member #1, second by Board Member #2 to approve Independent Auditors' Report of Elizabethton, Tennessee Board of Education Internal School Funds-Regulatory Basis, School Activity Funds Audit Report, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019. Motion carried.
Action(s):
Motion was made by Phil Isaacs, second by Eddie Pless to approve Independent Auditors' Report of Elizabethton, Tennessee Board of Education Internal School Funds-Regulatory Basis, School Activity Funds Audit Report, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019. Motion carried.
  • Dr. Grover May: Absent
  • Rita Booher: aye
  • Phil Isaacs: aye
  • Danny O'Quinn: aye
  • Eddie Pless: aye
No Action(s) have been added to this Agenda Item.
Discussion:  Annual audit between our schools and what we're going to do to comply with the audit.
Attachments:
7. Approve Board of Education Audit Report, Financial Statements and Supplemental Information for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019.
Recommended Motion(s):  Motion was made by Board Member #1, second by Board Member #2 to approve Board of Education Audit Report, Financial Statements and Supplemental Information for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019. Motion carried.
Action(s):
Motion was made by Eddie Pless, second by Danny O'Quinn to approve Board of Education Audit Report, Financial Statements and Supplemental Information for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019. Motion carried.
  • Dr. Grover May: Absent
  • Rita Booher: aye
  • Phil Isaacs: aye
  • Danny O'Quinn: aye
  • Eddie Pless: aye
No Action(s) have been added to this Agenda Item.
Discussion:  Individual audit report and we appreciate Ms. Wilson and her team.  She's worked hard with school level and district level audit.
Attachments:
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