Obion County Schools’ survey findings favor August opening date

by Benita Fuzzell

Convening for their final meeting of the 2019-2020 fiscal year on June 30 in the central office in Union City, members of the Obion County Board of Education approved a number of bid submissions for the next school year, and authorized the purchase of new buses.

One piece of information, however, was not included on the BOE agenda, but when asked following adjournment, Dale Hollowell and board member Keisha Hooper responded to questions regarding a recent survey taken by parents of students in the Obion County School system.

In June, a survey was offered to parents and guardians of students, relating to their preferences regarding the start of the 2020-2021 school year, in light of the previous year’s early dismissal, amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dale Hollowell, Assistant Director of Schools for the system, who called roll in the absence of Director of Schools Tim Watkins, said that approximately two-thirds, or 76% of returned surveys indicated a preference to start the school year when previously scheduled, to begin Aug. 4.

Hollowell said a “lot of planning” has taken place regarding the preparation for a contingency plan which will include extra precautions to insure the safety of the students and staff.

Hooper shared the numbers from the surveys returned, 889 “yes” to the return in early August and 318, “no”.

While guidelines have been shared and offered regarding specific plans for opening, Hooper and BOE Chair Fritz Fussell said ultimately, the decisions will lie within the authority of the local school districts’ boards of education.
Fussell, and board members Brian Rainey, Keisha Hooper, Tim Britt, Barry Adams and Kyle Baggett, on Monday night, reviewed and approved the personnel report, as presented, which included resignations listed from Marilauren Rogers, eighth grade math teacher/high school algebra teacher at South Fulton Middle/High School; Michael Hunt, Maintenance system wide; Deborah Curtis, School Nurse at South Fulton Middle/High; and Nicholas Ritter, World History and Government teacher and freshmen Boys Basketball Coach at Obion County Central High School.

New Hires were listed for Stacey Halford, second grade teacher at Ridgemont; Haley Johnston Klutts, fourth grade math and science teacher at Ridgemont and Danny Joe (D.J.) Gammons, Paraprofessional Head Basketball Coach at Ridgemont.

Transfers listed included Lester Wayne Russell, Maintenance, system wide and Ericka Reaves, fourth grade english language arts teacher at Hillcrest; with a Leave of Absence granted for Cheryl Reddin, legislative leave for the 2020-2021 school year.

The board members were provided with information regarding the Director of School’s authorization to accept gifts to the school system, and the designation for others to accept gifts for particular schools on behalf of the Board.

Individual schools within the system reported receiving gifts during the 2019-2020 school year, reported, included Lake Road, Ridgemont and South Fulton Middle/High School.

For SFMS/HS, donations were listed, received from Melissa Conner, Deborah Liliker, Anonymous, Daniel And Allie Lusk, Sandra Doss, David Whitesell, Robby or Jessica Mulcahy, Canstruction/Gifted; Health Quest, fitness equipment; Two Doors Down/Teresa Wright, donation for serving at fashion show; First Citizens National Bank, use of grill; Class of 1964, donation for science field trip; Union City Coca-Cola, drink donation for wrestling fundraiser; Waymatic, Dyer Foods, The Citizens Bank, William Latimer, City of South Fulton, Gray’s Coin and Currency, South Fulton Booster Club, Tyson Foods, Guidance Top Ten academic Banquet; Morris Farms, Science Field Trip, Wrestling fundraiser, donation for Baseball; parents of Class of 2020, senior trip.

In addition to advertising, bids were solicited for the paper bids, cafeteria milk bid and the janitorial supplies bid for the 2020-2021 school year.

Submitting bids for the paper bid were Compass Trading, LLC, at a bid of $24,030; Lanzer’s, a bid of $28,000; Contract Paper Group, $25,200 and Petter Business Systems, $28,050.

Submissions from Compass Trading, LLC, low bid meeting all specifications, was recommended by the DOS and approved by the board.

Two bids were received for the supply of milk, Dean Dairy Fluid, LLC/Purity, for $457,230, escalation/de-escalation, and $465,680, bottom line firm price; and Prairie Farms/Turner Holdings LLC, $447,970, escalation/de-escalation, and $458,046, bottom line firm price.

In addition to advertising the Reelfoot Area Consortium solicited bids for cafeteria milk products, with the consortium approving the bottom line firm price bid meeting all specs submitted by Prairie Farms however, each individual school must accept the bid. The bid was also approved by Judy Denman.

Four bids were submitted for janitorial products and supplies, from J.D. Distributors, Central Poly, American Paper and Twine and D. & K.

Highlighted prices were provided to board members, with bids recommended for specific products, and in the event of the low bid not recommended, an explanation justifying the recommendation was supplied. Hollowell reported Phil Graham had reviewed submitted bids for all janitorial supply items and it appeared each entity submitting bids would be awarded the low bid for some of the products.

Bids were solicited for three new 2021 conventional school buses and one new 2021 special education school bus, with bids received from one vendor, summarized.

Central States submitted “no bid”; Cumberland International submitted a bid to include three 78-passenger conventional buses, $93,845.40 and one 48-passenger special needs bus, $106,146.45.

The Transportation Department requested board consideration to declare six school buses surplus, five 2006 model buses and one 2007 model bus.

According to information submitted for board review, the 2007 model has been deemed at total loss by the insurance company.

Although no longer of use to the school system, it is estimated that salvage value of the vehicles is in the excess of the value specified in Tennessee Code Annotated, which states surplus personal property in local school systems which has no value or has a value of less than two hundred fifty dollars, $250 may be disposed of without the necessity of bids.

The Transportation Department requested of the board to dispose of the vehicles while endeavoring to get the best return on this, done by sealed bid, auction or scrap.

Board approval was provided for the consolidated plan for IDEA/ESEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, respectively, the latter to assure the emphasis of high standards and accountability with funds mandated in the act for professional development, instructional materials, resources to support educational programs and the promotion of parental involvement. Title One, a provision of the ESEA, is a program created by the U.S. Department of Education, to distribute funding to school districts with a high percentage of student from low income families. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensures students with disabilities are provided with free appropriate public education, tailored to individual needs.