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The new Director of Schools Mr. Donald Andrews is wasting no time in getting into his new position. Mr. Andrews is announcing 3 new positions to join his team at the Board of Education, to include an Assistant Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability, Assistant Director of Human Resources and Administration, and Chief Financial Officer. Andrews also brought a summary of his findings before the Board of Education, to include strengths and weaknesses of the schools from the eyes of the students as well as teachers and administrative staff. The one thing that stood out in his findings was how the teachers cared about the individual students and put forward extra effort, and that the student/teacher connection is apparent.
Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle is resigning from her position at the Board of Education, but she has no intentions of leaving the school system. Mrs. VanWinkle stated that when she took the director position 6 years ago, one of her requests was to retain her tenure during that time. Mrs. VanWinkle stated that when she retires, she wants to do so from a teaching role, which is where her heart is. When Dr. Andrews takes over for the 2013-2014 school year, Mrs. VanWinkle stated that she will have to go through the same interview process as any other person seeking a teaching position, and just wanted her intentions to be known so that she wouldn't be accused of hiring herself.
Lunch prices will increase in Cumberland County Schools for the 2013-2014 school year. A 5 cent increase will come to all prices except for reduced lunch, which will stay the same. For the Summer Food Service Program, there will be 18, possibly 21, summer feeding sites for 2013. The number of meals served has doubled yearly since 2010, and supervisor of food and nutrition for Cumberland County Schools Kathy Hamby hopes that the numbers will double once again this year.
The Board of Education is deep in budget discussions for the 2013-2014. Among things discussed on Thursday, changes could come to the Support Staff Pay Scale and the Certified Pay Scale. A change in longevity would come to the support staff pay scale and the certified pay scale has a mandated 1.5% increase for this coming school year. The board decided to bump up the certified pay scale to a 3% increase. The board will continue budget discussions and a final budget is expected in the next month.
In the Board of Education's legal report on Thursday evening, Mr. Earl Patton brought before the board threatening litigation from the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU). Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle received a letter from the ACLU that specifies a date in April in which a teacher at Brown Elementary School, Mr. Jones, allowed members of Gideons International to come before his classroom and speak. The students were then encouraged to come to the front of the classroom and take a bible, and a student feared ostracisation if he didn't take a bible. The parents of this child contacted the ACLU and have sought for 3 requirements to be met as retribution. Those 3 include that schools restrain from promoting or distributing any religious text on schools grounds during school hours, pay attorney fees not to exceed $2,000 and if the board fails to comply, to pay attorney fees that could be required due to threatening litigation. The board gave Mr. Patton liberty to go ahead with negotiations on the board's behalf.