School Board Seeks To Work Out Details with City and County on Plan to Direct Traffic in Two School Zones

October 14, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Student Representative on School Board Samantha Lewis
Former School Board Member Joan Draper Recognized

The DeKalb County Board of Education appears to be willing to join in a partnership with the City of Smithville and County Commission to appropriate funds toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary and possibly at the high school subject to agreement on final details.

During Thursday night's school board meeting, seventh district member Johnny Lattimore made a motion that a committee be appointed to meet with county and city officials and " if everybody agrees to everything, the director of schools and (school board) chairman can take executive action to issue those funds to cover our part of it. Then we can vote on it next month."

Chairman Charles Robinson appointed board members Billy Miller and Kenny Rhody and he will ask Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins III, who was absent Thursday night, to also be on the committee.

School board members apparently discussed this issue in a workshop on Tuesday night but it was not on the regular meeting agenda Thursday night. Third district member Kenny Rhody brought it up near the end of the meeting and Lattimore suggested that it first be referred to committee before taking board action. "Money is not the issue. It's how we pay the people that are going to direct the traffic. I think it would be a good idea to form a committee to meet with the county commission and the city council to discuss the details and work it out because if not we're just going to be passing it back from one meeting to the next. Everybody needs to sit down and iron out all the details."

Fourth district member Billy Miller said he started doing some checking after concerns had been raised about liability.."I've done some checking today. I think an issue was whether or not it would be a liability to each department or not. If it was set up as a 1099 tax form where it was contractual labor, the liability goes back to the person who is actually doing it in the state roadway. There is also a one day training that each individual has to take that is put on by the state at no cost to the county. Each one will have an insurance that will cover them for the liability. As far as wrecks, school zones, I checked with state, county, and city officials today and there is nothing any more special about a school zone than any other public highway. Accidents work the same way. There is no more liability. When humans are involved, humans are going to err and there may be accidents out there but I still think that having somebody out there will far outweigh what it would be if we didn't have anybody out there."

Lattimore responded, "I agree Mr. Miller but I think it would be better if everybody just sat down at a meeting and discussed it."

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley asked "Hasn't the city and county already approved it?

Lattimore answered, "They've already approved it but nobody has said who is going to take care of the payroll issue of it. That's what needs to be discussed."

Rhody interjected, "The city's went ahead and put their good faith money up. The county has already done theirs. I think they're just waiting on us to approve our part. We (should) all sit down and iron out all the details."

Miller also addressed the issue of the man hours involved. "I think there is a concern on how many hours they would be out there. I think everybody at this point and time is looking at somebody at Northside and the high school and down from two hours (at one school) to one hour (per day at each school). I spoke with some city officials today and there's not an issue with the city handling that as far as having them come in and clock in. They can check in on the (police) radio and clock their time in and out because we (school system) don't have anybody here at seven o'clock in the morning. If somebody calls in sick or there needs to be a replacement, we wouldn't be able to provide that but the city would. It's my understanding from the conversations I've had with them (city officials) that this would not be an issue to do that if we were willing to put up our third of the monies."

The DeKalb County Commission last month voted 12-2 to appropriate up to three thousand dollars a year toward the cost of hiring someone to direct traffic in the school zone at Northside Elementary and possibly at the high school.

The Smithville Aldermen voted to make the same $3,000 appropriation last month (for Northside Elementary) with the understanding that the county and school board would each fund one third of the costs as well.

In other business the board set Friday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. as the date for the 2011 DeKalb County High School Graduation

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel.

Those employed since last month are:

B.J. Patterson, part-time computer tech
Roger Sharp, Jr., part-time computer tech
Sarah Ashley Barnes, DeKalb Middle School Guidance Counselor
Kelly Talent, certified substitute teacher
Deliah McGhee, substitute cafeteria worker
Paulette Ruffner, substitute cafeteria worker
Tammy Judkins, substitute school nurse
Thomas Maney, substitute custodian
Cerina S. Craig, part-time Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant

Leave of Absence:
Crystal Gordon, Special Education Assistant at Northside Elementary, leave as requested
Paulette McDonald, Special Education Assistant at DeKalb Middle School, leave as requested
Georgia Young, DeKalb West School Cafeteria Manager, leave as requested
Holly Hendrix, Smithville Elementary School teacher, leave as requested
Brad Mullinax, Technology, leave as requested
Amy Fox, leave as requested

Richard Bullard, custodian at DCHS
Peggy Semmes, DCHS teacher
Summer Kinnaird Shelton, DeKalb Middle School Guidance Counselor
Diana Moon, Educational Assistant

The board recognized former fourth district member Joan Draper, who served four years on the Board of Education and did not seek re-election this year. Her term expired August 31st.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented her with a school bell as a token of appreciation for her service. " She served this board to the best of her ability and did an outstanding job. A lot of times people run for public office for their own personal agenda and sometimes the agenda they run for is not for everybody. But when Ms. Joan ran for office as a school board member, she ran for all the children of DeKalb County and she served the children of DeKalb County. Our schools have been very fortunate to have had Ms. Joan Draper as a board member."

Board members welcomed this year's student representative on the Board of Education, Samantha Lewis of DCHS

The policy states that "The DeKalb County Board of Education may select one high school student representative to serve in an advisory position to the Board. This student shall be designated by the DeKalb County High School Principal to serve for one school year. The student representative shall serve without compensation.

Some responsibilities of the DeKalb County Student Representative are as follows:

1.Attend the monthly meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education

2. Communicate needs including questions, concerns, problems, updates, and suggestions to the Board of Education.

3.Help design a banner for the DeKalb County School System for the TSBA Fall Conference, as per TSBA guidelines, to be presented at the October School Board Meeting.

4.Attend the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) Conference if funding is available.

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring custodians.

The resolution states "Whereas, custodians take pride in the appearance of their schools and they recognize that the way they carry out their job responsibilities greatly influences the first impression of the school of those who walk through the doors; and

Whereas, we depend on custodians to help keep our students and staff free from illness by providing a healthy learning environment for our students and staff by keeping the school in the cleanest and best condition possible and being "Germinators" who tap out germs, smack down dirt, and knock-out odors; and

Whereas, our custodians make our schools better places by being friendly, helpful, encouraging and consistently demonstrating patience and kindness toward students and staff in the performance of their duties; and

Whereas, custodians frequently go beyond the call of duty to assist students and staff members in numerous ways that reflect well on the schools and school district; and

Therefore, be it hereby resolved, that the School Board expresses appreciation for the Germinators who strive to keep our schools in an orderly, clean, and safe condition each day to make schools better places for students to learn.

Be it further resolved that the School Board declares October 14th as Custodian Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Public Schools.

Be it further resolved, that each school principal is hereby encouraged to get students involved in planning and celebrating Custodian Appreciation Day."

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