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Local News Articles

Jimmy Womack Reappointed to DUD Board

June 24, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jimmy Womack

Jimmy Womack has been reappointed to a new four year term on the DeKalb Utility District Board of Commissioners.

The county commission Monday night voted in support of County Mayor Mike Foster's appointment of Womack. Those voting in favor were county commissioners Elmer Ellis, Jr, Mason Carter, Jerry Scott, Bradley Hendrix, Wayne Cantrell, David McDowell, Rick Cantrell, Jeff Barnes, Marshall Ferrell, and Larry Summers. Jerry Adcock voted no and Jimmy Poss passed.

Womack is one of two DUD board members whose current term expires this year. The other is Roger Turney of Cannon County

During its regular monthly meeting on June 5 the DUD board certified a list of nominees to the county mayors of DeKalb and Cannon County to fill those positions.

The term of Turney, serving Cannon County on the DUD's board will expire on August 31, 2014. Womack's current term will expire on October 31, 2014. Womack is one of three members on the board who serves DeKalb County. Each term is for four years.

By law, the DUD board must submit the names of three nominees to fill each position, listed in order of preference. During the June 5th meeting, the board voted to submit the names of Turney, Chris Blackburn, and Winfred Gaither in that order to the Cannon County Mayor. The DUD board also voted to submit the names of Womack, Jimmy Herndon, and Paul Blair in that order to the DeKalb County Mayor.

Under the law, a customer could have also submitted names for consideration by the DUD board for the list of nominees. A public notice was published in May but no names were offered by DUD customers.

The general provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated (State Law) TCA § 7-82-307 provide that the utility board members must submit three nominees, listed in order of preference, to the county mayor (where the vacancy exists). The county mayor has the authority to appoint one of the nominees to the vacant position on the board or reject all of the nominees. If the county mayor rejects all three nominees, then the board of (utility) commissioners has to submit three additional nominees to the county mayor for consideration.

The DUD Board is made up of five members, three from DeKalb County (Jimmy Womack, Joe Foutch, and Hugh Washer), one from Cannon (Roger Turney), and one from Smith County (Danny Bass). The terms are staggered.

Alexandria Man Charged with Aggravated Arson

June 24, 2014
Dwayne Page
Shawn Patrick Byrd

An Alexandria man is charged with aggravated arson for allegedly setting fire to the residence where he lives on Lower Helton Road last week.

23 year old Shawn Patrick Byrd is under a $25,000 bond and he will be in court June 26.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire on Wednesday, June 18 at the residence on Lower Helton Road in Alexandria. When firefighters found the source of the blaze they thought it to be suspicious and summoned a sheriff's department detective to the scene. The detective conducted an investigation and discovered what appeared to be an intentionally set fire. Through the investigation, Byrd was identified as a suspect. During the interview with the detective, Byrd allegedly admitted to starting the fire.

Sheriff Ray said the investigation reveals that the fire was set in the upstairs portion of the residence next to the HVAC unit in the closet using a table cloth and a piece of wood. Three other adults were in the home at the time including two downstairs and one upstairs.

Young Girl Commended for Reporting Sexual Comments Made to Her at Pool

June 23, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jeania Poss

A 13 year old girl is being commended for reporting an incident last week that led to the arrest of a convicted sex offender at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool.

"If this little girl hadn't told me then there is no telling what would have happened," said Jeania Poss, operator of the Pool in an interview with WJLE Monday.

41 year old Timothy Eugene Bowman of 1507 Big Hurricane Road is accused of making sexual comments to the 13 year old and two other teens. He is charged with three counts of solicitation of a person under 18 years of age and violation of the sexual offender registry law. He is under a $25,000 bond and will be in court on June 26.

According to Poss, the child came forward last Wednesday to report the incident which occurred the previous week and when Bowman showed up at the pool again, Poss immediately called police and refused to let him leave until officers arrived.

"The little girl had gone to my lifeguard (Wednesday, June 18) to tell him that there was a guy there the previous week that had made her feel uncomfortable. So my lifeguard came to me right away to tell me what had happened," said Poss. "Me and the little girl talked about what was said. I told her that if she ever saw him there again to let me know. She had described him to me so I had an image of who he was. Just a couple of hours later, he pulled up in the parking lot. I saw him pull up. As I was going to find the little girl to see if that was the guy, she was coming to tell me that was the guy. I already had my lifeguards on alert so when he came inside the gate, we watched every move he made while I sent someone to call the police. We were watching this guy so closely that I think he caught onto us watching him so he went to get his stuff to leave and as he was walking out the gate, I took off running after him. I stopped him and told him he couldn't go anywhere until the police got there. Of course he was denying everything. Within just a matter of minutes, the police were there and they questioned him. I told the police officer what the little girl had reported to me and the officer asked the guy to go get his ID. When the guy went to get his ID, the police officer called it in and that's when it came back that this man was a registered sex offender. I didn't know at the time that he was a sex offender. I just called the police because of the comments that she had said he made to her. That was the reason I called the police," Poss said.

Police later learned that Bowman allegedly made sexual comments to two other girls, a 14 year old and a 16 year old in recent visits to the pool.

Operators of the pool want to reassure parents that every effort is made daily to keep everyone, including children safe. " Keeping everybody safe is our top priority at the swimming pool. That's what we're there for is to keep the swimmers safe. We watch everything that goes on there. I don't want anybody to be scared of coming out because once we knew about it (Bowman), we took care of it," said Poss.

"I do want this to be an awareness. I do want everybody to teach their children to speak up. If somebody makes you feel uncomfortable, if you don't want to tell your parents, tell an adult because if this little girl hadn't told me then there is no telling what would have happened. I want this to be an awareness. It could happen at church. It could happen at the grocery store. Just teach your children not only the dangers of talking to strangers but that if they do talk to a stranger, if that stranger makes them feel uncomfortable to please report it," Poss concluded.

TDOT Commissioner Views Sligo Bridge Construction

June 23, 2014
Dwayne Page
TDOT Commissioner John Schroer (far right) talking with TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges at Sligo Bridge
New Sligo Bridge going up beside existing bridge
Workers pump concrete into the drilled shaft to form the shaft for the columns that will soon follow.
Construction workers being carried to top of cap on bridge pier

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer began his three day "TDOT Projects Tour" in Region 2 Monday and the first stop was in DeKalb County.

The Commissioner was joined by other TDOT representatives, State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mark Pody and officials of Massman Construction during a luncheon at the county complex and most traveled by bus or vans afterward to the construction site of the new Sligo bridge.

Upon arrival, each of the spectators donned hardhats, life jackets, and safety glasses and then boarded a barge for a ride on the lake to get an up close view of the construction.

"It's a massive project and very complicated," said Commissioner Schroer. "Deep water bridge work is very hard but we've got a good tour of what they're doing and how they are doing it. Not being an engineer myself, this is a great educational time for me and some of the other people here to see what is going on. It's a fun way for us to get out and meet people and see what is happening out in the communities," he said.

"The project is going real well," said Ken Flynn, Director of Operations for TDOT Region 2. " Right now we're on schedule and maybe just slightly ahead. We're getting there. It's looking real good. We've got all of our drill shafts into the lake completed and we're starting to go up with the rest of our sub-structure. It's a great milestone to get the in-water work complete. The next big challenge is how we're going to set our steel so high up in the air," said Flynn.

In April 2013, TDOT awarded the construction contract on Sligo bridge to the Massman Construction Company based in Kansas City, Missouri at $38,903, 917. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2016.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings Promoted to Sergeant

June 23, 2014
Dwayne Page
Dewaine Jennings Receives Sergeant's Pin from THP Colonel Tracy Trott

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Jennings, who has worked in DeKalb County since joining the THP in 2007, received the promotion in March but was recognized in a formal ceremony on June 5 at the THP Training Center in Nashville. He received his Sergeant's pin from THP Colonel Tracy Trott. Sergeant Jennings will be Supervisor in Putnam County.

Sergeant Jennings is a U.S. Navy veteran and he logged twelve and a half years as a law enforcement officer before joining the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Since becoming a member of the THP, Sergeant Jennings has been named three times as the Cookeville District Trooper of the Year in 2008, 2009, and 2012 and he was Trooper of the Year for the entire State in 2009.

He is a Crash Reconstructionist, Radar Instructor, District Field Training Officer Coordinator, Supervisor of Strike Team 6, Drug Recognition Expert, and a member of the THP Honor Guard. Sergeant Jennings currently attends Bethel University where he is working to obtain a criminal justice degree.

TDH Urges Parents To Think Now About School Immunizations

June 23, 2014

Many students across Tennessee are enjoying their summer break. But it won’t be long before the bell rings for the new school year, and it’s never too early to think about school immunizations. Tennessee students are required to have a number of immunizations for school attendance.

“Getting vaccinated is so important to help protect all of us from infectious diseases,” said Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, director of the Tennessee Immunization Program. “Making sure your children have their required vaccinations is a good way to help ensure students won’t be out of the classroom due to a preventable illness.”

In Tennessee, children enrolling in school for the first time and all children going into seventh grade must provide schools with a state immunization certificate before classes start as proof they have had all the immunizations necessary to protect them and their classmates from serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

“We encourage parents to avoid the last-minute rush of getting into a health care provider’s office by making sure their child has his or her needed immunizations now,” said Moore.

Immunizations required for school are available from a variety of health care providers, including county health departments. Children may be eligible to receive free vaccine if they have no insurance, are enrolled in TennCare, have private insurance that does not cover vaccines, or are American Indian or Alaska Native. There is a separate charge for administration of the vaccine which may be discounted for children with no insurance, who are American Indian or Alaska Native, and children with private insurance that does not cover vaccines.

One of the required immunizations is for measles, mumps and rubella, also known as MMR. An outbreak of five cases of measles was recently reported in Tennessee among contacts of an infected traveler, the first cases in the state in three years. None of these cases, all adults, had evidence of two doses of MMR vaccine.

“The measles virus is highly contagious and can stay airborne or live on surfaces for up to two hours,” said Jan Beville, MD, TDH Community Health Services medical director. “Measles is rare, but can be just a plane ride away. The two doses of MMR vaccine required for school and college protects more than 99 percent of healthy children.”

All students entering seventh grade are required to have proof they have had two doses of chickenpox vaccine (or a history of illness) and a booster shot for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough, commonly known as “Tdap,” to protect them through their teens. This is also the age pediatricians and other experts recommend preteens get their first of three doses of a vaccine to help prevent the cancers of men and women caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and their first dose of meningitis vaccine. Although HPV and meningitis vaccines are not required, they are recommended to be given at the same time as the required Tdap booster and any other vaccine a child may need.

In 2013, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the “Jacob Nunley Act” requiring new incoming college students who live in on-campus housing to provide proof of immunization against meningococcal meningitis.

The complete list of Tennessee child care and school immunization requirements is available on the TDH website at Questions about school policies on when or how immunization certificates must be provided should be directed to local schools.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at

Eighteen DeKalb Students Earn Degrees from TTU

June 22, 2014
Dwayne Page

More than 1,200 students earned their degrees in May from Tennessee Tech University, including eighteen from the DeKalb County area.

Those graduates are Haley Marie Snyder, Katie E Nixon, and Shanea M Nixon of Alexandria; Gabrielle B Byford, James Michael Hendrixson, and Jessica D Antoniak of Dowelltown; Kayla Ariana Nunley of Lancaster; Brendan Wesley Mims, Brittany Autumn Richards, Caleb Lee Spencer, Caleb Bruce Gash, Corey B Poss, Karen Lee Pelham, Lauren Nicole Rogers, Macy Felts Nokes, Tiffany M Cowart, and Wesley M Blair of Smithville; and Brooklyn Amber Shirah of Sparta.

TTU’s newest alumni came from 77 Tennessee counties, 31 states and 22 other countries. Their degrees were in 41 undergraduate and 22 graduate fields.

“We have journeyed with these students through a time in their lives they will never forget and that has the protection for profound change – not just in their own lives, but in all of ours and for generations to come,” said TTU President Phil Oldham during the ceremonies.

Each spring, TTU hosts two commencement ceremonies. The morning ceremony is for graduates of the Colleges of Agriculture and Human Ecology, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing. Graduates of the Colleges of Business and Education receive their degrees in the afternoon.

The state’s only public technological university, TTU offers more than 40 bachelor’s and 20 graduate programs to more than 11,000 students. Students come from the top ranks of their high school classes, and more than half of them graduate from TTU debt free. With hundreds of student activities ranging from clubs and organizations to community service projects, intramurals and Greek Life, TTU offers a full campus experience to students from around the world. TTU Golden Eagles Division I sports teams are part of the Ohio Valley Conference. Founded in 1915, Tennessee Tech University is about an hour east of Nashville in Cookeville. Learn more at

DeKalb Students Make TTU Spring 2014 Dean’s List

June 20, 2014
Dwayne Page

The hard work of more than 4,000 students has earned them a place on Tennessee Tech University’s dean’s list.

The dean’s list recognizes the university’s top academic performers. To be included on the list, a student must be attending the university full time and earn a grade-point average of at least 3.1 on the 4.0 scale.

Those from the DeKalb County area are:

DeKalb County - Alexandria
Haley Marie Snyder, John E Hale, Matthew Wayne Boss, Shanea M Nixon, Taylor C Leach, Zachary R Martin

DeKalb County - Baxter
Michael C Arms

DeKalb County - Dowelltown
Gabrielle B Byford, Jessica D Antoniak, Rachel Cole Gates

DeKalb County - Lancaster
Kayla Ariana Nunley

DeKalb County - Liberty
Alexandria B Meadows, Kathryn Grace Mitchell

DeKalb County - Silver Point
Breanna Jo Russell

DeKalb County - Smithville
Abigail E Hendrix, Alexander D Hayes, Annieka M Norton, Benjamin F Brandt, Bindiya Rasik Patel, Brady S Evans, Britney M Campbell, Brittany Autumn Richards, Caleb Lee Spencer, Caleb Blake Cantrell, Callie A Gash, Christian J Atnip, Christina B Ferguson, Christopher Riley Young, Connor N Apple, Dalton H Vaughn, Emily Kaye Summers, Ethan B Duke, Hunter T Collins, Jonathan Hunter Tramel, Joseph L Angaran, Justin Brady Wiser, Kirstin Nicole Ramsey, Laura E Martinez, Lauren Nicole Rogers, Layne T Mathis, Lorrie Michelle Merriman, Macy Felts Nokes, Makayla R Ferrell, Mary A Little, Olivia C Norton, Piyush R Patel, Robert Wesley Burchfield, Samantha K Lewis, Stephanie R Phillips, Talisa Marie Cantrell, Tiffany M Cowart, Tyler A Dunaway, Wesley M Blair, Whitney N England, William G Graham

DeKalb County - Sparta
Aaron Jordan Shirah, Brooklyn Amber Shirah

Convicted Sex Offender Arrested at Smithville Municipal Pool

June 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Timothy Eugene Bowman

A 41 year old sex offender was arrested Wednesday at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool after three young girls there complained that he had made sexual comments to them.

Timothy Eugene Bowman of 1507 Big Hurricane Road, Smithville is charged with three counts of solicitation of a person under 18 years of age and violation of the sexual offender registry law. He is under a $25,000 bond and will be in court on June 26.

According to Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger, officers were dispatched to the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool in response to a complaint about a man making obscene sexual remarks to three juvenile girls. A computer check revealed that Bowman is a convicted sex offender and is not to be in the presence of children. He is on the sex offender registry.

Chief Caplinger said Bowman allegedly made sexual comments to three girls, a 14 year old, 13 year old, and 16 year old on Tuesday, June 17 and to the same 13 year old girl last Friday, June 13 while at the pool. Bowman also allegedly asked one of the girls if she would like to see the inside of his vehicle.

Meanwhile, in other cases 30 year old Michael Rose is cited for shoplifting. He was observed by Walmart associates placing items in a Walmart bag. He left the building through the Garden Center and was stopped on the sidewalk. While the officer was talking with him, Rose produced two packages of items he had taken from the store and concealed in his pants. The total value of the stolen merchandise was $141.57.

26 year old Randi Renee Atnip and 23 year old Lastasha Nicole Cantrell are each cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, May 29 police were dispatched to Walmart in reference to shoplifters. Upon arrival an officer spoke with Walmart employees who said that Atnip and Cantrell concealed pairs of flip flops on their persons.

49 year old Therese Harriott is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said on Thursday May 29 police received a call of a person passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle at Sonic Drive-In. Upon arrival an officer found Harriott passed out and leaning over the console. The keys were in the ignition. Her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. Harriott submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test.

25 year old Lila Renee Key is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said police were recently dispatched to Walmart. Upon arrival an officer spoke with a Walmart employee who said that Key had concealed several items in her purse and tried to leave the store without paying for them.

52 year old Tamra Mears is charged with being a fugitive from justice. She is under a $50,000 bond. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, May 31 police were dispatched to DeKalb Community Hospital concerning an unruly patient. Upon arrival an officer spoke with Mears. A background check through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) revealed that Mears was wanted in Richmond County, Virginia for an offense on February 22, 2013.

48 year old Wendy Goodman is charged with assault ad public intoxication. Her bond is $3,000. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, June 1 police were dispatched to Restview Avenue and found Goodman outside her residence. She was intoxicated. An officer warned her to go back inside her home or she would be arrested. Less than an hour later police were called back to the scene after Goodman allegedly came out of her home, walked across the street, and got into a fight with a neighbor. She had a strong odor of alcohol on her person and was unsteady on her feet. Goodman was placed under arrest.

46 year old Kimberly Odom is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Monday June 2 police were dispatched to Bill Page Ballpark concerning someone in the wooded area nearby who was yelling at children. An officer walked into the woods and found a purse and other items including a six pack of beer. Inside an abandoned shed near the woods, the officer found Odom laying on the ground. She had a strong odor of alcohol on her person and was very unsteady on her feet. Odom was placed under arrest.

43 year old Shauna Taylor of Woodbury is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. Chief Caplinger said that on Tuesday, June 3, Taylor was stopped on suspicion of shoplifting from Rite Aid Pharmacy. Upon receiving verbal consent to search her purse, an officer found items believed to be used for the illegal injection of narcotics, a hypodermic needle and needle point, two small pieces of cotton, two cut straws, and a small baggie. Taylor allegedly told the officer that she used these items to inject her own pills.

35 year old Janice Renee Velasquez is cited for shoplifting. Chief Caplinger said that on Wednesday, June 4 police were called to the Dollar General Store on South Congress Boulevard where Velasquez was found to have several items in her purse that she had not purchased.

22 year old Clay Bain is charged with driving on a revoked license and cited for violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, and traffic control device. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Wednesday, June 4 police observed a GMC pickup truck fail to yield to a stop sign at Murphy Street and Bright Hill Road. An officer stopped the truck. Bain, the driver, did not have a valid drivers license. A computer check revealed his license were revoked for a DUI. Bain was placed under arrest.

38 year old Angela Sheffler of Nashville is cited for simple possession of a schedule IV drug. Chief Caplinger said that on Wednesday, June 4 police were dispatched to Market Street in reference to a complaint of someone being intoxicated. Upon arrival, an officer spoke with Sheffler who was standing outside at 118 Market Street. She had slurred speech and was very unsteady on her feet. The officer entered the building and found on a counter top, a blue prescription bottle containing fifteen pills but the medication was in a different bottle than was prescribed. Sheffler said the pills belonged to her but she could not produce proof of a valid prescription. She will be in court July 10.

34 year old Christopher Mooneyham is charged with robbery. His bond is $8,000. Chief Caplinger said police were recently called to a residence on Green Acre Drive in response to a theft. Upon arrival an officer spoke with a woman who said her ex-husband, Mooneyham, came to her home and accused her of stealing money from him. Mooneyham allegedly reached for her looking for money, leaving a bruise on her inner thigh. Finding no money, Mooneyham allegedly grabbed her purse and left, going toward his home. The contents and value of the purse was $220.

31 year old Christopher White of McMinnville is cited for theft of property. Chief Caplinger said that on Friday, June 6 police were called to 515 West Broad Street in reference to a theft. Upon arrival, an officer spoke with a witness who saw White take thirty three dollars worth of items from the residence. White allegedly admitted to the theft. He will be in court on July 10.

Donald Rigsby is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and public intoxication. He will be in court July 10. Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, June 7 police were called to 627 West Broad Street concerning a person who was intoxicated. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the man, Rigsby who was found to be very unsteady on his feet with slurred speech. A search incident to arrest revealed three syringes containing a yellow residue in Rigsby's right sock. He was placed under arrest.

41 year old Scottie Sykes is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of a schedule II drug. Chief Caplinger said on Saturday, June 7 police were called to 605 Alexander Street on a domestic call. An officer responded and spoke with Sykes who was found to have on his person, four hypodermic needles and three pills believed to be morphine. His court date is July 3.

29 year old Amanda Lena Krauss is charged with theft of property. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, June 12 police responded to the Dollar General Store on South Congress Boulevard in regard to a shoplifter. Upon arrival, an officer spoke with Krauss who was found with several items from the store in her purse. She will be in court July 10.

32 year old Stephanie Nicole Green is cited for simple possession of a controlled substance. Her court date is July 24. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, June 12 an officer made a traffic stop and received consent from Ms. Green to conduct a search. He found her to be in possession of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

26 year old Brandy Turner is charged with theft under $500. Her bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Monday, June 2 Turner went to the home of a woman who had just died on Restview Avenue and took a pill bottle filled with morphine pills. She allegedly admitted to taking the pills.

School Board Makes Cuts but Keeps New Athletic Coaching Supplements in Budget

June 19, 2014
Dwayne Page
School Board and Director of Schools (Older Photo)

The Board of Education went back to work Wednesday night on making adjustments and cuts to its proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year.

To comply with the wishes of the budget committee of the county commission, the school board voted 4-3 to reduce proposed spending by a total of $331,469 to keep overall expenditures in the general purpose school budget at the same level next year as this year, $20,576,347.

No current positions or personnel will be eliminated because of the cuts but a proposal to add at least one new academic coach to help teachers and students in the classrooms will not be funded. New athletic coaching supplements will remain in the budget.

Concerned that the school system may soon have to actually start dipping into its reserves to operate, members of the county budget committee last Thursday voted 4-1 to ask the school board to make cuts in its proposed budget.

Meeting in special session Wednesday night, the board voted on proposed cuts outlined by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. Reductions were made in many line items throughout the spending plan. "The county court (commission) requested that we cut $331, 469 from our expenditures. We have gone through here and in some areas we have cut large. Some areas we have cut low. It (cuts) comes to a total of $331,469. What pleases the board is what we'll try to work with," said Director Willoughby.

New athletic coaching supplement positions totaling $20,333 were included among the cuts but Sixth District member Doug Stephens proposed an amendment to keep those supplement positions in the budget by moving funds from two other line items to pay for them including making an additional $18,000 in cuts for natural gas from "Operation of Plant" and $2,300 from "Other Contracted Services" in Transportation .

Stephens said he felt comfortable making further cuts in natural gas because actual expenditures this year and in the last couple of years have been much less than budgeted amounts. " "I think there is a surplus there. The previous two years that are shown, we budgeted more (for natural gas) than what was shown (actual costs). We've reduced it (natural gas) by $10,000 (in this budget) but I think there is still some money there.We're cutting it by $10,000 off the $175,000 that is proposed. But we spent (as of today for this year) $127,000. We project to spend around $135,000 (this year) so there is some extra money in there. And considering that natural gas can go up, conservatively $18,000 (more in cuts for natural gas) is the number (to be transferred to help fund the additional coaching supplements)," said Stephens.

The board voted 4-3 to approve the amendment offered by Stephens to make the fund transfers to keep the coaching supplements in the budget. Board members Stephens, Billy Miller, Kenny Rhody, and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III voted in favor. Board members John David Foutch, Charles Robinson, and Chairman Johnny Lattimore voted no.

First district member John David Foutch said he voted no on the amendment because he would rather try to find the money to fund at least one academic coach. "I'd like to see that academic coach in this budget. That's the reason I'm voting no on this. I believe we could research this and find that $50,000 for that academic coach and give us a pilot program to see if this works. I think it is something that would help our schools. I think it is something that is needed in these schools. In talking to these educational professionals, they recommend it and they deal with this every day. I don't. I think they know a lot more about it than I do and if they think it's necessary I believe we need to try to find a way to fund it," said Foutch.

The board then voted on the proposed budget which makes cuts but adds the new athletic coaching supplement positions. Again the vote was 4-3 with Billy Miller, Doug Stephens, Kenny Rhody, and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III voting in favor and John David Foutch, Charles Robinson, and Chairman Johnny Lattimore voting against.

"I vote no, not because I'm against sports or adding the positions, but we've got a very, very tight budget and it's just going to get tighter and tighter if we don't have additional tax dollars coming in and we may be coming back next year, whoever is on this board, and more than likely will be coming back and cutting these positions as well as other positions if something doesn't change that we have additional revenues. We may have these assistants (coaching supplements) today but we may not have them a year from today. So my vote is no," said Chairman Lattimore.

Director Willoughby said he hopes more emphasis will be placed on academics in future budgets. "I'd like to say that the next time that we do something pertaining to a budget and adding something is going to be with a focus on the academic programs that we have in our schools. Our kids in our athletic programs and extracurricular activities do a good job. But Tennessee needs to do a better job day in and day out of preparing our children to be college and career ready. That starts even before they get to school but the foundation is laid by the third grade," said Director Willoughby.

The proposed budget still includes funding for a new second grade teacher as well as an English teacher, Chemistry teacher, and a part time English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at DCHS.

A total of $20,330 is budgeted for additional coaching supplements including two DCHS assistant soccer coaches (one for the girls team and one for the boys team) totaling $5,570; two assistant DeKalb Middle School soccer coaches ($2,790), a DeKalb Middle School assistant basketball coach ($1,395), a DeKalb Middle School/West School Cross Country Coach and a DCHS Cross Country coach (2 positions totaling $5,000), an assistant DeKalb West School basketball coach ($1,395), an assistant DeKalb West Baseball coach ($1,395); and an assistant high school football coach ($2,785). The original plan included $5,000 for an Athletic Director and $2,500 for DeKalb West School to have its own Cross Country Coach but those supplements were cut from the budget. The board decided to create one Cross Country program for the DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School combined.

The proposed school budget includes funding for a half-time speech pathologist; a new full time Technology position; and a four thousand dollar pay raise for the Transportation Director position putting that salary up to $36,710.

Total revenues come to $19,203,975. Expenditures are $20,576,347. The school board proposes to use a total of $1,372, 372 in available Technology and BEP cash reserves and unassigned monies from the fund balance to meet expenses in balancing the budget.


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