Local News Articles

Two House Boats Destroyed by Fire

May 17, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
One of the Houseboats Destroyed by Fire
Houseboats on Fire at Center Hill Marina (Photo by Donnie Elkins)

A fire destroyed two houseboats and damaged another Sunday night at Center Hill Marina at Cove Hollow on Center Hill Lake. The marina itself was not damaged.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:29 p.m.

The fire apparently started on one of the houseboats which was docked at the "B" pier of the marina. The owner of the boat, who had been on board, left a pan of grease heating up on the stove while he went fishing off the pier. When the man returned to the boat, he found it mostly engulfed in flames. The fire also spread to boats on either side of the burning houseboat, destroying one and causing minor damage to the other. A dog on one of the boats also perished in the blaze.

The marina's maintenance manager cut loose other boats in danger that were tied to the dock along the pier and he made sure persons on board those boats were alerted so they could safely evacuate.

Among those responding to the fire were members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Main station and the Liberty and Temperance Hall Stations. The department used it's fire boat to gain better access. Officers of the TWRA were also on the scene along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS.

One of the firefighters became overheated while fighting the fire requiring treatment on site. The marina's maintenance manager also suffered a minor shoulder injury.

DCHS Graduation Set for Friday Night

May 15, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hunter Tramel

A total of 170 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian, Hunter Tramel, the Class President, Amanda Ours and Guest speaker Michael Burt, a championship coach, motivational speaker, leadership expert, author, and culture builder.

The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus is also expected to perform.

The honor students will be recognized including the 2010 Valedictorian Hunter Tramel and the Salutatorian Wesley Blair.

Students among the top twenty five senior academic ranking from numbers one to twenty five are as follows: Hunter Tramel, Wesley Blair, Grant James, Caleb Spencer, Meagan Sullivan, Hunter Poteete, Seth Willoughby, Amanda Ours, Reddy Munagala, Cynthia Woodward, Tyler Harbaugh, Tiffany Young, Haley Snyder, Erica Neely, Jared Adams, Dakota Dexter, Payne Denman, Nicholas Goff, Caroline Carter, Kendra Foutch, Kyle Hogue, Jessica Fox, Lindsey Harden, Austin Garrett, and Gabrielle Byford.

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 include
Hunter Tramel-Valedictorian 4.0, Wesley Blair- Salutatorian 4.0, Grant James 4.0, Erica Neely 4.0, Hunter Poteete 4.0, Caleb Spencer 4.0, Meagan Sullivan 4.0, Seth Willoughby 4.0, Cynthia Woodward 4.0, Jared Adams, Caroline Carter, Payne Denman, Dakota Dexter, Kendra Foutch, Jessica Fox, Austin Garrett, Nicholas Goff, Tyler Harbaugh, Kyle Hogue, Reddy Munagala, Amanda Ours, Haley Snyder, and Tiffany Young

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Gabrielle Byford, Axyl Chalfant, Tyler Dunaway, Kayla Ellis, Sabrina Griffin, Lindsey Harden, Katie Nixon, and Katelyn Stutts.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Paulina Alfaro, Matthew Antoniak, Reeves Beller, Elicia Cantrell, Samantha Coe, Rachel Cunningham, Brandon Dyer, Abram Edwards, Whitney Gann, Jaylen Garrett, Jessica Goldstein, April Hale, Ethan Hale, Stephanie Hobbs, Conner Jones, Sasha Knowles, Abigail Laprad, Layne Mathis, Tyler McCloud, Brad Michaels, Travis Neal, Zachary Odom, Morgan Page, Micah Prichard, Kristian Puckett, Myra Tramel, and Joseph Vickers.

Members of the DCHS Class of 2010 are as follows:

Jared Adams, Angela Alfaro, Paulina Alfaro, Schuylar Allen, Taylor Allen, Matthew Antoniak, Nathan Armour, Brandon Atnip, and Corey Atnip,

Autumn Banks, Reeves Beller, Lance Bennett, Wesley Blair, Hillary Bowman, Michael Briley, Brittany Brown, Natasha Burrage, Gabrielle Byford,

Jade Cade, Ashly Caldwell, Elicia Cantrell, Macey Cantrell, Caroline Carter, Axyl Chalfant, Mindy Chrisman, Holly Cikalo, Dakota Clark, Samantha Coe, Britany Collier, Matthew Collier, John D. Crutcher, Jordan Crutcher, Rachel Cunningham, Jodi Curtis,

Kandi Davenport, Michael Davenport, Ethan Davis, Payne Denman, Dakota Dexter, Ryan Dodd, Tyler Dunaway, Brandon Dyer,

Abram Edwards, Kayla Ellis,

Allen Faux, Kendra Foutch, Jessica Fox, Cody Fults,

Whitney Gann, Austin Garrett, Jaylen Garrett, Juan Godinez, Nicholas Goff, Jessica Goldstein, Sabrina Griffin,

Brandon Haas, Megan Hackett, Travis Hagan, April Hale, Ethan Hale, Tavisha Hall, Tyler William Harbaugh, Lindsey JoAnn Harden, Kirsten Nichole Hardison, Rebecca Lee Haynes, Ashley Breanna Hendrixson, Mizael Hernandez, Michael Austen Highers, Aaron E. Hines, Stephanie Hobbs, Daryl Lindsay Hobby, Kyle Patrick Hogue, Christopher Garrett Hoke, Chelsea Lee Holden, Kayla Dawn Hubbard,

Grant James, Bethany Nichol Johnson, Cody A. Johnson, Travon Aki Johnson, Conner Jones,

Colby Mason Kelnhofer, Tyler Kemp, Sasha Suzanne Knowles, Daniel Kosirog,

Kimberly Ann Lanier, Abigail Laprad, Heather Nicole Lee, John W. Licht, Chelsye Janae Linder,

Ryan Macy, Mark Mason, Jessica Lauren Matthews, Layne Thomas Mathis, Talisha Mathis, Ethan Matthews, Tyler McCloud, Shaun McGinnis, Heather Melton, Brad Michaels, Lyndsey Miller, Joseph Miller, Ross Moore, Kane Morgan, Frank Morris, Veronica Mullins, Tejaswi Munagala,

Jesus Narvaez, Kayla Neal, Travis Neal, Zachary Neal, Erica Neely, Katie Nixon, Jenna Norris,

William Odom, Zachary Odom, Lizabeth Oliva, Andrea Ottinger, Amanda Ours, Ashley Owen,

Brian Pack, Morgan Page, Piyush Patel, Carlos Perez, Jonathan Plattenburg, Hunter Poteete, Sarah Price, Micah Prichard, Brandon Puckett, Kristian Puckett, Salvador Puentes, Brandon Pyles,

Raul Ramirez, Chandler Robinson, Casey Rowland,

Joi Satterfield, Anthony Schellingburger, Tiffani Scott, Jason Singleton, Eddie Lee Smith, Haley Snyder, Hilda Soto, Caleb Spencer, Kristina Stephens, Britta Strayn, John Strayn, Andrea Stringer, Katelyn Stutts, Meagan Sullivan, Dustin Summers, Jesse Sutton,

Corey Tate, Nicole Taylor, Vanessa Taylor, Kyle Thomas, Nathaniel Tippens, Jaime Torres, Hunter Tramel, Myra Tramel, Joshua Tyree,

Justin Vandergriff, Katelyn Vanwinkle, Joseph Vickers,

Ashley Waggoner, Jessica Walden, Daniel Watts, Tyler Weatherby, Tiffany Wheeler, Seth Willoughby, Cynthia Woodward,

Tiffany Young

Legislative Update from State Senator Mae Beavers

May 15, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers

The State Senate passed several key immigration and crime bills this week; however, the budget still remained the top priority. After the Governor presented his budget changes, Republicans presented an alternative proposal designed to offset the governor’s tax increases, including tax increases that would impact small businesses by raising the single article cap on sales tax, increase taxes on cable television customers, and raise the fee for Tennessee driver’s licenses. The Republican plan addresses those tax hikes by cutting state government spending by $133 million instead.

Both budget plans acknowledge $78 million less in revenues from the revision presented earlier this year for the current fiscal year and $76 million less than the 2010-2011 budget year which will go into effect on July 1, for a shortfall of about $150 million in the governor’s original budget proposal. The new budget amendment comes after the State Funding Board adjusted downward its previous estimates for total state taxes due to a more dramatic decline in revenue collections than previously anticipated.

The budget is typically among the last bills passed by the legislature before adjournment. The General Assembly will carefully review language in both amendments in the Senate Finance Committee next week and make any needed changes before the bill goes to the full body for final consideration.

Disaster Relief / Property taxes – Disaster relief legislation was also approved in the Tennessee Senate this week to authorize local governing bodies, by a two-thirds vote, to prorate a homeowner’s or business owner’s property tax assessment when the structure cannot be occupied for more than 30 days as a result of a disaster certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The proposal was added as an amendment to Senate Bill 3687 to provide tax relief on properties that are not inhabitable during the time it takes to rebuild. Those severely impacted by the recent storms would need to apply for property tax relief prior to September 1, 2010 under the bill.

Lawmakers continue to work with state and federal officials in the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history.

Revenues improving – In good news this week regarding the state’s finances, Tennessee’s revenue collections improved in April with a net positive growth of 2.23 percent over April collections one year ago. April revenues were $1.243 billion, which is $43.4 million more than the state budgeted for the month, representing the first positive sales tax growth month in almost two years. Sales tax collections started their downward spiral starting in January 2008 and have continued to decline for an unprecedented 22 consecutive months.

State Senate debates immigration, voter registration, and driver’s license bills

ICE / Prisoners – In action on immigration legislation, the Senate debated a measure calling for Tennessee jails to send information to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office (ICE) regarding prisoners who do not have documentation that they are in the U.S. legally. The bill, Senate Bill 1141, requires the jail keeper to fax, email or send a copy of the booking information within three business days of the person’s arrest.

The bill does not apply to any county or municipality that enters into a memorandum of understanding with the United States Department of Homeland Security concerning enforcement of federal immigration laws. Davidson and Shelby Counties already have programs which share information. Knox County is also currently negotiating with federal authorities regarding a memorandum of understanding.

Debate will continue on the bill in the next floor session of the Senate scheduled for May 24.

Drivers License / English – Similarly, the full Senate gave approval to legislation to require that Tennessee drivers’ license exams are given in English. The bill, however, was defeated in the House Budget Subcommittee on the following day. The measure sought to make sure that immigrants know how to read the road signs and can drive safely in Tennessee. Senate Bill 63 would not have applied to persons whose presence in the United States has been authorized by Homeland Security for work in companies located in Tennessee through the efforts of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development in order to accommodate those nationalities with manufacturing facilities in the state.

A similar measure has passed the Senate for the last two years, but did not gain passage in the House of Representatives. Nine other states have “English only” laws.

State Senate continues efforts to wage war on crime

Armed Robbers – The legislature approved numerous anti-crime bills this week, including a measure approved by the Senate Finance Committee to strengthen penalties against armed robbers. The legislation would more than double the minimum amount of time served for aggravated robbery.

Presently, armed robbers convicted on a first offense can receive up to eight years in prison, but the 30 percent requirement places the actual sentence at less than three years. This legislation would increase the percentage of prison time for these armed offenders from 30 percent to 74 percent.

To ensure there is prison space, the bill would sentence non-violent property to community corrections, with more intensive supervision, instead of incarceration. The legislation, Senate Bill 3431, now goes to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Crime / Domestic Violence / Orders of Protection – The Senate acted on two separate measures to address domestic violence this week. One proposal, which was approved on final consideration, prohibits a respondent of an order of protection from telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating directly or indirectly with the petitioner. The bill makes it clear that the person to whom the order is directed cannot contact the victim “for any purpose.” The action would prevent excuses from being used in violation of the order. The measure, Senate Bill 2708, now goes to the governor for his signature.

Crime / Domestic Violence / Counseling – The second domestic violence proposal acted on this week would allow the court to order domestic abuse perpetrators to attend counseling programs. The bill, which was approved by the Senate Finance Committee, prescribes a list of counseling programs the judges can order if they choose, including, intervention programs that are certified by Domestic Violence State Coordinating Council. Senate Bill 2709 increases the maximum penalty for those convicted of the crime from $200 to $225, with the proceeds going to grants for domestic violence shelter programs.

Terrorism / Resolution – Finally, the State Senate voted to approve Senate Joint Resolution 860, which encourages the President and the U.S. Attorney General to take steps necessary to try foreign terrorists by a military commission. The resolution states the sense of the General Assembly is that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and all other enemy combatants or “alien unprivileged belligerents” should be tried by a military commission. The measure directs copies of the resolution to be transmitted to the President, Attorney General, and each member of the Tennessee Congressional delegation.

Issues In Brief

Highways / federal funds – Legislation that calls for Tennessee to keep its own road money rather than participate in the Federal-Aid Highway Program was approved by the full Senate this week. Senate Bill 3678 provides for Tennessee to opt out of the federal program subject to enabling action by Congress. The state could then choose to retain the state’s contributions to the federal Highway Trust Fund for transportation purposes. Tennessee is a donor state as far as the Federal-Aid Highway Program is concerned, meaning that it pays in more money than it receives back from the federal government. The legislature’s financial analyst reported passage of the bill would result in an increase in the state’s highway fund of over $67 million upon implementation.

Citizen’s constitutional rights in foreign judgments / Uniform Unsworn Declarations Act – Legislation addressing how Tennessee courts should be required to deal with foreign judgments was approved on final consideration this week. The bill deals with the application of foreign laws, if and when they violate a citizen’s protections under the state and federal Constitutions. Senate Bill 3740 calls on Tennessee courts to consider that the primary factor in decisions regarding whether to enforce decisions from foreign countries should be the protection of constitutional liberties and protections afforded to individuals under the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

May 15, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings! We were successful Monday evening in passing landmark ignition interlock legislation through the State House of Representatives. House Bill 2768 will require certain DUI offenders to use an ignition interlock system, in which users must ‘blow’ below a certain blood alcohol content (BAC) level to turn on their vehicle. We have carried some form of the legislation for several years, and worked particularly hard this year in securing passage.

We contended that the legislation was needed to curb the number of repeat drunk drivers on Tennessee roads. Forty-eight other states have some form of ignition interlock, but Tennessee is only the fourteenth to impose mandatory use of the device on first time offenders.

Specifically, the bill requires anyone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or higher to use the ignition interlock device (IID). The sponsor also stated that the bill addresses a DUI from arrest to treatment to release.

Having already passed unanimously in the Senate, the bill is now headed to the Governor for his signature.

Lawmakers push ethics bill, measure passes House with overwhelming majority

We successfully passed an ethics measure Monday that would require any member of the legislature to forfeit state health insurance benefits if convicted of a felony offense related to their elected office. The law would not apply retroactively or to family members who might be covered.

Legislative leaders filed and supported this legislation despite hitting roadblocks in subcommittees. House Bill 2349 was approved by the full House this week with only 4 no votes. Having passed the Senate earlier this month unanimously, the bill is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

State encourages homeowners to verify contractor licenses before hiring

In light of the historic flooding that has devastated parts of Tennessee, the Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) this week encouraged homeowners to verify the licensure of contractors they hire to repair their homes by using http://verify.tn.gov.

The department stressed the importance of residents not falling prey to fraud artists posing as a legitimate, licensed home contractors. Taking the time to make sure someone is licensed with the state is a fundamental first step when selecting a contractor to work on a home.

The TDCI also said that when selecting a contractor, it is also important to:
Get several bids. It’s best to get at least three bids and check references.
Get a written contract that includes the company’s name, address and telephone number. The contract should also include an anticipated start and completion date.
Take your time and do not get rushed into signing a contract.
Never pay more than 1/3 down and do not let the payments get ahead of the work.
Ask for proof of general liability insurance.
Make sure the contractor obtains the local permits for inspections.

Tennesseans can also check the Department’s monthly Disciplinary Action Reports to see if contractors have engaged in unlicensed activity or have incurred administrative action taken against them by the Department. Licensing for contractors also carries parameters that govern the types of jobs different licensees are permitted to perform.

In brief…
House Bill 2665 was passed unanimously by the us on Monday and will create a veterans’ honor medal program to recognize and honor all Tennessee veterans. Having already passed the Senate, the proposal is now on its way to the Governor for his signature.

House Bill 2552, which passed on the House floor Monday night, clarifies the law on the purchase of used or secondhand items purchased by local government. As the law is currently written, local governments could not purchase equipment that is more than 10 percent above market value, or 10 percent below. The bill clarifies that there is no floor on how much a local government may pay (meaning no threshold on the amount of savings) and changes the ceiling to 5 percent above market value. This is legislation that could potentially save local governments across the state money.

House Bill 2952 would ban law enforcement from enacting ticket quotas, “may not establish or maintain, formally or informally, a plan to evaluate, promote, compensate, or discipline a law enforcement officer solely by the issuance of a predetermined or specified number of any type or combination of types of traffic citations.” The bill is headed to the Governor for his signature.

For the first time in 22 months, state revenues for the month of April came in $43.4 million above projections. Year-to-date collections are still down, to the tune of approximately $201.8 million for the first 9 months of the fiscal year which is 4.11 percent below projections.

In regards to the budget, a 650 million dollar cut has been proposed making it another 150 million more in cuts from the Governors original budget. Receiving the line by line assessments just yesterday, I will now talk and consider as I decide if this is something I can support. Still there are items that I believe we need to eliminate until a further date when our economy is on the mend. A lean and limited government is what must come from this budget. We simply can not spend what we do not have. Now is the time to prioritize and live within our means on a state level. The next two weeks we as legislators will be up to our eyeballs in numbers. Pray for wisdom and the courage to do what is right for Tennessee!

In closing, I encourage you to call my office if you are in need of assistance or would like to make a trip and see the capitol. As always, I am proud and honored to serve the 40th district of Tennessee.

Smithville Police Department Weekly Crime Report

May 15, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has issued it's weekly update on recent arrests.

33 year old Tracie Lyndal Godsey of 194 E H Haas Road was arrested on Friday, May 7th for violation of probation. Corporal Travis Bryant was called to the probation office where he was informed that Godsey had an active warrant on her. According to the warrant, Ms. Godsey was convicted of simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance in DeKalb County General Sessions court. Godsey was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for a term of 11 months and 29 days. She allegedly violated the conditions of the probation and a warrant was issued for her arrest. After obtaining verification with a hard copy of the warrant through central dispatch, Godsey was placed under arrest without incident. She is being held without bond.

52 year old William Boyd Seals Jr of 236 Spring Valley Road, McMinnville was arrested on Sunday, May 9th for a second offense of driving under the influence. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow responded to an accident on West Broad Street and made contact with Seals who was standing with Sergeant Randy King in front of King's patrol car. Seals appeared to be intoxicated and he had a strong odor of a fermented beverage about his person. Seals was also unsteady on his feet and he had trouble standing without aide. Seals submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. A bottle of Vodka was recovered from the passenger side floor board of his vehicle. Seals was cited for violation of the open container law. Bond for Seals is $2,000 and his court date is May 20th.

39 year old Andrea Charese Johnson of 107 Shady Lane, Alexandria was arrested Monday, May 10th for leaving the scene of an accident. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow received a call concerning a hit and run accident. Upon arrival, he made contact with Joshua Lesley Johnson who said that a silver four door car crossed into his lane of travel, struck the front driver side of his vehicle, ran it into the grass just off the roadway, and fled the scene. While Officer Tatrow was speaking with Mr. Johnson, a vehicle pulled up and he was advised that it was the same automobile that had left the scene. The driver of the vehicle, Andrea Johnson said that she was texting and when she looked up she was in the south bound lane and could not avoid hitting the other vehicle. Ms. Johnson added that she panicked because she had never been in an accident and that's why she fled the scene. Ms. Johnson was arrested for leaving scene of accident and cited for texting while driving and failure to maintain lane of travel. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on May 20th.

32 year old Jackie Darrell Ervin of 310 Webb Lane was arrested on Wednesday, May 12th and charged with two counts of violation of probation in Wilson and White counties. Detective Jerry Hutchins made the arrest.

29 year old Christie Dawn Barlow of 4724 Jefferson Road was arrested on Wednesday, May 12th for simple assault and public intoxication. Corporal Travis Bryant was called to 318 West Broad Street to check out an altercation between several people. Upon arrival he spoke with the parties involved and determined that Barlow was the aggressor. She was belligerent, would not let anyone talk, had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Barlow was placed under arrest. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on May 27th.

43 year old Marty Brent Tallent of 465 West Broad Street was arrested on Thursday, May 13th for DUI. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow saw Tallent operating a motorcycle and stopped him for not wearing a helmet. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person, slurred speech, and he admitted to drinking beer. Tallent submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. When asked to submit to a blood test,. Tallent refused. He was arrested for DUI and cited for violation of the implied consent law. Bond for Tallent is $1,000 and his court date is June 17th.

26 year old Michael B Gingerich of 180 Turner Street, Liberty was arrested on Thursday, May 13th for driving on a suspended license. Officer Scott Davis stopped Gingerich for speeding on Allen Ferry Road and a check of records revealed that his drivers license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in DeKalb County on November 28th, 2008. Bond for Gingerich is $1,000 and his court date is June 9th.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential

Meanwhile, the Smithville Police Department has recently received reports of a scam concerning the Census Bureau. Chief Randy Caplinger would like to remind citizens that employees with the Census Bureau will not ask for personal information, such as; social security number, bank account number, etc… If anyone asks for this information, do not give it to them and contact your local law enforcement agencies.

Scholarships Awarded to Many DCHS Seniors

May 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Seniors Receiving College and University Scholarships
DCHS Seniors Receiving Scholarships from Businesses and Civic Groups
High Schools that Work Honorees
DCHS Top Honor Students

Almost $548,000 in scholarships were awarded to members of the Class of 2010 at DeKalb County High School during Friday's annual Senior Awards Day program.

Representatives of colleges, universities, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marines, businesses, civic groups, and other organizations made the presentations.

Payne Denman received one of the largest scholarship awards of the day, an $85,000 Athletic Scholarship to play golf at the University of Florida. State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver also presented Denman a proclamation adopted by the Tennessee House of Representatives last December honoring Denman for his achievements as a student athlete.

Other scholarship awards are as follows:

MTSU Scholarships:
$8,000 Provost- Jared Adams
$8,000 Provost- Kyle Hogue
$8,000 Provost- Dakota Dexter
$12,000 Academic Service- Lindsey Harden

University of Florida:
$85,000 Athletic Scholarship-Payne Denman

Cumberland University:
$6,000 Golf Scholarship- Austin Garrett
$5,750 Academic Scholarship- Austin Garrett

Tusculum College:
$32,000 Scholarship- Abram Edwards

Tennessee Tech University Scholarships:
$1,000 Ezra H. Carwile- Axyl Chalfant
$10,000 Golden Eagle Excellence- Caleb Spencer
$10,000 Golden Eagle Excellence- Hunter Tramel
$10,000 Golden Eagle Excellence- Tyler Harbaugh
$12,000 Academic Service-Wesley Blair
$12,000 Academic Service- Tiffany Young
$3,000 Grand Prize Science Fair- Tiffany Young
$1,500 Reserved Grand Prize Science Fair- Tiffany Young
$1,500 Reserved Grand Prize Science Fair- Tiffany Young
$500 W. Doyle & Melford Stone Smith Scholarship- Tyler Harbaugh
$1,000 Internship- Sabrina Griffin

Freed-Hardemen Scholarships:
$24,000 Athletic- Cynthia Woodward
$21,600 Academic- Cynthia Woodward
$32,000 Athletic- Jodi Curtis
$4,000 Academic- Jodi Curtis

Roane State Scholarships:
$5,800 Athletic- Jaylen Garrett
$5,800 Athletic- Morgan Page

Centre College Scholarships:
$18,900 Merit Award- Hunter Poteete
$5,000 Alumni Endowment Award- Hunter Poteete

University of Tennessee, Knoxville Scholarship:
$16,200 Pledge Scholarship- Zach Odom

St. Mary's College Scholarship:
$60,000 Dean's Scholarship for Academic Achievement- Hayley Snyder

Carson-Newman Scholarship:
$8,500 Award- Meagan Sullivan
Fite First Choice Award Scholarship- $3,000- Meagan Sullivan
Lettie Pate Whitehead- $1,000- Meagan Sullivan
Vocal Music Talent Scholarship- $3,500- Meagan Sullivan
Band Talent Scholarship- $1,000- Meagan Sullivan

U.S. Marine Corps Awards:
Enlistment Recognition- Frank Morris
Distinguished Student Athlete Award- Hunter Poteete
Distinguished Student Athlete Award- Morgan Page
Semper Fidelis Musical Excellence Award- Hunter Tramel
Scholastic Excellence Award- Tiffany Young

U.S. Army Awards:
Enlistment Recognition- John Strayn
Distinguished Student Athlete Recognition Award- Cynthia Woodward
Distinguished Student Athlete Recognition Award- Payne Denman

U.S. Navy Awards (totaling more than $90,000 combined)
Jessica Fox
Daniel Kosirog
Katelyn Vanwinkle

Tennessee Gas Association Scholarship
$1,000- April Hale

DeKalb Soil Conservation District Scholarship:
$500- Lindsey Harden

Kyle & Kenny Robinson Memorial Scholarship:
$1,000- Amanda Ours
$1,000- Kendra Foutch

Class of 1969 Scholarship:
$250- Caroline Carter

Agee Oil Scholarship:
$1,500- Payne Denman

DeKalb Fire Fighters Scholarship:
$500- Gabby Byford

Jolly Angels Scholarship:
$1,000- Tiffany Young
$1,000- Joe Vickers
$1,000- Hayley Snyder
$1,000- Ashley Owen
$1,000- Kayla Hubbard

Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Scholarship:
$500- Abram Edwards

DeKalb Republican Women Scholarship:
$500 Abram Edwards

Liberty State Bank Scholarships-
$1,000-Ethan Hale
$1,000- Grant James

Jeff Garrett Memorial Scholarship:
$500- Austin Garrett

Smithville Business & Professional Women's Club Scholarships:
$500- Abby Laprad
$500- Tiffany Young

Love-Cantrell Funeral Home Scholarships:
$500-Cynthia Woodward
$500-Hunter Tramel

Alan Hooper Memorial Scholarship:
$500- Micah Prichard

AmVets Scholarship
$250- Austin Garrett

AmVets Auxiliary Scholarship:
$250-Ethan Hale

CIC Foundation Scholarship:
$10,000- Grant James

First Bank Scholarship:
$500- Hunter Poteete

Smithville Rotary Club Awards:

$750-Nick Goff
$750-Amanda Ours
$750- Joe Vickers
$100 Math Award- Tiffany Young
$100 Vocational Award- Joe Vickers

DeKalb PTO Scholarship:
$250- Seth Willoughby

Scottish Rite Scholarship:
$1,000- Ashley Owen

DeKalb Community Hospital Scholarship:
$500- Sabrina Griffin

Class of 1966 Scholarship:
$500- Abigail Laprad

DeKalb Farmers Coop Scholarship:
$500- Myra Tramel

Lucille Stewart Memorial Scholarship:
$2,000- Brandon Haas
$2,000-Meagan Sullivan

Elzie & Nell McBride Memorial Scholarships:
$500-Nick Goff

Leadership DeKalb Award:
$750- Abby Laprad

FCCLA Award:
$200- Katie Nixon

DCHS Student Council Award:
$250- Jared Adams

Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship:
$1,000- Nick Goff

Eddie Crips Memorial Scholarship
$1,000- Abram Edwards

DeKalb Retired Teachers Scholarship:
$750- Heather Lee
$750- Macey Cantrell

Smithville Women's Club Scholarship:
$500-Katie Nixon
$500-Erica Neely

Hunter Davis Memorial Scholarship:
$500- Joe Vickers

Central High School Alumni Association Scholarship:
$3,000- Lindsey Harden

DeKalb Democratic Party Scholarship;
$500- Schuylar Allen
$500- Kristian Puckett
$500-Tiffany Young

Georgia Career Institute Scholarship:
$1,000- Brittany Collier

Nashville Auto Diesel College Scholarship:
$1,000- Brandon Dyer

DeKalb Funeral Chapel Scholarships:
$500- Sabrina Griffin
$500- Elicia Cantrell
$500- Macey Cantrell
$500- Gabby Byford

School Board Adopts Tentative Budget for 2010-11

May 13, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted the tentative school budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The vote was 4 in favor, 2 opposed, and one passed.

The proposed $18 million budget will now be presented to the county's budget committee for it's approval and then it will go to the county commission for final approval later this summer.

The tentative budget includes pay raises for school personnel including a $400 increase per certified position and a 25 cent per hour increase for all support staff positions along with the step increases per salary scales and adjustments for degree advancement per salary scales.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says the budget is tight and he is hopeful the school system can make it through the year without having to ask for more from the county commission. "This budget is again a budget that is extremely close. I'm glad to see fuel prices are going down. We do have a $400 raise in there for our teachers and a 25 cent per hour raise for our support staff. Our teachers and support staff are very deserving of that (pay raise). Not only do they work hard, but they have been very productive and they have produced a lot of the results we were after. They accomplish a lot. This is a bare bones budget. It requests for us to use our BEP reserves. In the last several years we have used the BEP reserves to balance the budget but at the end of the year we have not had to actually use those reserves. We've been able to put those back and not use them. But I want to say for the record that this may be the year that we end up having to use the BEP reserves in order to pay our bills. We've had a lot of things go up, such as the amount that we're required to put into the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement Plan. I know the teacher's part (amount school system must contribute) is like $239,000. Support staff (amount school system must contribute) is less than $50,000. Should there be unforeseen things come up during the year, I just want to tell you that we may have to go back and ask for more money and definitely we may have to use our BEP reserves this year. We definitely don't want to go back and ask for more money, but I just want to let you know that there is a good possibility that this next school year may be the year that we use our BEP reserves."

Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III voted against the budget, suggesting that the county is putting the board of education in a difficult position of having to balance the school budget on state BEP reserves, a position the school board may not have been in had the county commission not cut the school system's property tax rate a couple of years ago, after the sales tax referendum passed. "Mr. Willoughby, I don't have a problem with the expense structure in this budget. I think some things we can't avoid. I'm glad we're able to put something in for the teachers. However, I do have a problem with the funding mechanism. We can't continue to depend on sales tax revenues and our reserves, because reserves can't be replenished. When the general public was put to the test and there was a referendum to increase the (local option) sales tax, the approach at that time was that the sales tax was for the schools. As things progressed along, the understanding and agreement was that if you (public) vote the sales tax revenues, the sales tax increase, we (county mayor and commission) will take 19 ½ cents away from property taxes. As it turns out, we (schools) did get the sales tax revenue. We did get the referendum passed. And of that 19 ½ cents they (county commission) took 16 ½ cents of that from us (schools). I'm very concerned about that. We got money in the left hand (increase in sales revenue) and got it taken away from us in the right hand (decrease in property tax revenue). Fortunately, right now the sales tax revenues are okay but that's very volatile. It was not so many years ago that about 65 or 70% of the property taxes in this county went for schools. Now that's down in the 30 percentile. We're depending upon a very volatile income (sales tax revenue to fund schools) and I have some great concerns about that. I have no problem with the expenditures but I do have a problem with the funding mechanism."

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley also voted against the budget, saying after the meeting that he thought that the pay raise for personnel should be more. Parsley added that he also had concerns about using BEP reserves to balance the budget.

Second district member Charles Robinson, who is also chairman of the school board, passed during the roll call on the budget. The chairman is not required to cast a vote on any issue.

In addition to the pay raises, the proposed budget also includes one new special education resource teacher for DeKalb County High School to help meet the new diploma requirements. One of the current school nurse positions and two special education assistants, under this budget, would be funded from general purpose schools, rather than federal as they have been in the past. One part-time special education vision teacher position would become full time under this budget. And the transportation manager would become a full time position

Perhaps, the category making the single largest impact on the budget is in the state mandated increase in the school system's contribution to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement, going from 6.42% to 9.05% for teachers and from 5.18% to 6.28% for support staff. That totals well over $239,000.

The bottom line on total school expenditures for next year comes to $18,029,136, exceeding total revenues by $770,476. In order to balance the budget, the school board is expected to propose appropriating $712,000 of the local school system's share of state Basic Education Program (BEP) reserves as one-time expenditures and $58,476 of Technology Reserves. The school board does not plan to seek an increase in the local property tax rate for schools, but is expected to ask the county for an increase in local revenue of $33,744 over last year's budget to round out this proposed spending plan.

In other business, the board adopted a new policy for DeKalb County High School that would change the academic standards in determining the top ranked students as well as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of each graduating class, beginning with the Class of 2014.

Starting with incoming freshmen who will be graduating in 2014, students would have to complete the more challenging honors and advanced placement (AP) courses in order to be eligible for Valedictorian and Salutatorian and their ACT scores and attendance would also be factors.

A committee, made up of local educators, has been studying the issue and recommended this new policy to the board of education.

David Gash, assistant principal at DCHS and chairman of the committee, says one of the purposes of the proposed new policy is to increase enrollment in the honors and advanced placement courses. "Research has shown that students who are exposed to more rigorous course work in high school are better prepared for college. We feel that by raising the expectations for our students, we are better preparing them for the future."

(Click here to read more about the story http://www.wjle.com/node/10558)

Third district member Kenny Rhody thanked DCHS student Meagan Sullivan for serving as the first student representative on the school board, a non voting position. He presented her a plaque on behalf of the board.

Willoughby Hires Professional Personnel for 2010-11 School Year

May 13, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed contracts with the Professional Personnel for the 2010-2011 school year.

Willoughby presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-

Charlotte Agee, Jeanette Allen, Angie Anderson, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kevin Burchfield, Boyd Cantrell, Harriett Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Mary Anne Carpenter, Joe Pat Cope, Patrick Cripps, Dixie Crook, Jared Daniels, Deborah DePriest, Donna Emmons, Marshall Ferrell, Tina Fletcher, Michelle Fontanez, Amanda Fuller, David Gash, Marie Hill, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, John Isabell, William Jennings, Natasha Judkins, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Lynus Martin, Lori Barnes Myrick, Rolando Navarro, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Rebecca Oliver, Shelly Painter, Lori Page, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, John Pryor, Rebecca Purdue, Joey Reeder, Leslie Rice, Melissa Ruch, Frederick Sanders, Daniel Sebers, Peggy Semmes, Amy Tobitt, Steve Trapp, Chris Vance, Michael Whitefield, Carol Williams, Brittany Willoughby, Jonathon Wright, Melvin Young, and Kathy Hendrix.

Northside Elementary School-

Joyce Alexander, Rebecca Baugh, Lisa Bell, Marla Beshearse, Kelly Birmingham, Kathy Bryant, Linda Bush, Wendy Colvert, Trent Colwell, Michael Crockett, Amanda Dakas, Alisha Day, Holly Espinosa, Jerry Foster, Ashley Garrett, Carrie Gottlied, Amy Green, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Cynthia Hale, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Karen Jacobs, Shelly Jennings, Sabrina Kirksey, Kristy Lasser, Lisa Mabe, Jama Martin, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Pamela Miller, Elizabeth Nolt, Louise Owen, Amy Raymond, Judy Redmon, Bethany Rigsby, Melissa Roysdon, Tammy Sims, Carol Tripp, Cheryl Vance, Julie Vincent, Betsye Walker, Ginger Wenger, Sandy Willingham, and Gayle Redmon.

DeKalb West School-

Doris Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Genrose Davis, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Denise Graham, Megan Hardin, Lesa Hayes, Lindsay Holmes, Ricky Hendrix, Regina Kent, Michael Littrell, Shelia McMillen, Melanie Molander, Amanda Mullinax, Tammy Payne, Debra Poteete, Cynthia Preston, Lori Pryor, Cynthia Pulley, Joyce Robertson, Susan Robinson, Audrey Russell, Lori Sexton, Jane Watson, Susan West, Vicki Wilson, Amy Young, and Danny Parkerson.

Smithville Elementary School-

Tanya Akinson, Ana Bain, Renee Beaty, Kelly Birmingham, Kim Brown, Beth Cantrell, Laura Carter, Layra Crook, Trena Curtis, Tonya Dickens, Sue Driver, Vicky Duke, Kelli Foster, Misty Franklin, Tina Gash, Amanda Hardiek, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Mary Henny, Anna Johnson, Karen Knowles, Carrie Lee, Adrienne McCormick, LeVaughnda Midgett, Margaret Nichols, Christina Ontiveros, Beth Pafford, Susan Palmer, Jane Parsley, Kristy Parsley, Jennifer Peek, Mary Pugh, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Carol Sampley, Pam Sanders, Carol Tallent, Jan Thomas, Janet Trapp, Carol-Ann Tripp, Fay Turner, Sherian Waggoner, Tiffany Wheatley, Janet Woodward, Christie Young, Crystal Young and Dr. Billy Tanner.

DeKalb Middle School-

Joey Agee, Josh Agee, Jan Alexander, Suzette Barnes, Lori Cloyd, Lisa Craig, Lisa Cripps, Courtney Davis, Tena Davidson, Nancy Dillon, Jenny Elrod, Sabrina Farler, Amy Fletcher, Lori Hendrix, Tom Hill, Bryan Jones, Michelle Jones, Summer Kinnard, Gail Kirksey, Martha Kirksey, Taleen Lambert, Michael Lewis, Michael Littrell, Debra Moore, Rebecca Oliver, Joy Parker, Karen Pelham, Anita Puckett, Joyce Robertson, Candice Scrabro, Lori Sexton, Penny Smitty, Tonya Sullivan, Kitty Thomas, Tad Webb, Jennifer West, and Randy Jennings.

Central Office Staff-

Gina Arnold, Katherine Ballard, Michelle Burklow, Clay Farler, Dr. Danielle Collins, Jon Fontanez, Dee Anna Reynolds, and Mary Nell Summers

County Wide-

Amy Fox, Lorie Isabell, Judy Malone, and Lori Rogers.

In other business, the board granted tenure to the following teachers, as recommended by Director Willoughby. He says these teachers have completed the statutory apprentice period of three years as required for tenure: Renee Beaty, Marla Beshearse, Michael Crocket, Jared Daniels, Jenny Elrod, Jon Fontanez, Michelle Fontanez, Amy Fox, Jessica Hale, William Jennings, Jenny Norris, Shelly Painter, Deb Poteete, Rebecca Purdue, Dee Anna Reynolds, Carol Sampley, Pamela Sanders, Daniel Seber, Penny Smitty, and Cheryl Vance.

The board of education adopted a Resolution of Appreciation honoring teachers.

"WHEREAS, teachers prepare tomorrow's citizens and leaders by teaching them reading, writing, arithmetic and many other skills that help them to learn and grow into productive, happy contributors to society; and

WHEREAS, we depend upon teachers, through example, to demonstrate qualities that are necessary for success and to serve as role models, encouragers and developers of the students in our schools; and

WHEREAS, teachers keep American democracy alive by laying the foundation for good citizenship, and their hard work and efforts are directly responsible for creating the leaders of tomorrow; and

WHEREAS, teachers spend countless hours above and beyond the school day designing teaching strategies and materials, grading papers and other projects, reading and studying about issues in education, consulting with parents, administrators and other teachers and sponsoring or attending school related events: and

WHEREAS, teachers open children's minds to the magic of ideas, knowledge and dreams and inspire a love of learning and truth and seek to discover and build upon each child's interests and strengths; and

WHEREAS, the Board believes that the appreciation of all school district staff should be ongoing and not limited to one day per year, but recognizes the value of annually focusing public attention on the efforts of educational personnel.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board, in recognition of the numerous contributions which teachers in our school district make every day, hereby expresses to our teachers its deep appreciation and sets apart the month of May as "Teacher Appreciation Month" in all DeKalb County schools;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board urges the community to demonstrate appreciation for the public school teachers and their contributions in enriching the lives of our children and helping to build a brighter future for them.

Support Staff Employed for 2010-11 School Year

May 13, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby announced Thursday night during the board of education meeting that he has employed the support staff for the 2010-2011 school year.

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:

Rena Adcock- Cook, Wanda Bradford- part time Cook, Amee Cantrell- Social Worker, Kathy Chapman-Cook, Kenderly Cripps- Guidance/Records Clerk, Annette Davis- Educational Assistant, Debbie Eaton- Educational Assistant, Regina Estes- Secretary, Beverly Ferrell- Educational Assistant, Dena Haugh- Educational Assistant, Melissa Hicks- Cook, Deborah Knowles- Educational Assistant Job Coach, Helen LaFever-Cook, Rita Leichtfuss- Educational Assistant, Deborah Magness- Bookkeeper, Rhonda Merriman-Educational Assistant, Lisa Peterson-Educational Assistant Job Coach, JoAnn Pittman-Custodian, Brian Reed- Educational Assistant, Denise Rutland- Custodian, Ray Robinson- Custodian, Vicky Sandlin- Cook, Norman Underhill- Educational Assistant, Tiffany VanWinkle- Educational Assistant, Sharon Washer-Cook, Suzanne Williams-Educational Assistant, Jamie Wright- Guidance Clerk, and Debbie Young-Cafeteria Manager.

DeKalb Middle School:

Heather Blankenship- Educational Assistant, Helen Cantrell-Cook, Charles Cantrell- Custodian, Sheryn Curtis- Cook, Fay Gilreath- School Bookkeeper, Connie Haggard- Cook, Barbara Hibdon- Cook, Rita Johnson-Cook, Samantha Lester- School Secretary, Reba Malone- Custodian, Paulette McDonald- Educational Assistant, Lisa Norton- Educational Assistant, Eldon Vanatta- Cafeteria Manager, Nancy Young- Educational Assistant

Smithville Elementary School:

Brent Arnold-Educational Assistant, Jimmy Barnes- Custodian, Clay Bumbalough- Custodian, Pauline Braswell- Educational Assistant, Brenda Beth Cantrell- Educational Assistant, Darlene Evans-Educational Assistant, Mary Foutch- Cook, Jennifer Gay- Educational Assistant, Betty Griffith- Educational Assistant, Jean Hayes- Cafeteria Manager, Vicki Jefferies- Educational Assistant, Melinda Lattimore- Educational Assistant, Brittany Lockard- Educational Assistant, Sara Lomas-Custodian, Pat Milam- Part Time Cafeteria Monitor/Substitute Custodian, Tera Mooneyham-Educational Assistant, Diana Moon- Educational Assistant, Ronda Northcutt- Educational Assistant, Freeda Phillips- Cook, Rhonda Pelham- Secretary/Receptionist, Amelia Phillips- Cook, Lori Poss- School Bookkeeper, Brenda Rigney- Educational Assistant, Teresa Spencer- Educational Assistant, Beverly Starnes- Cook, Wayne Taylor- Custodian, Tammy Tyler- Cook, Annie Walker- Educational Assistant, and Celia Whaley- Educational Assistant,

Northside Elementary:

Emma Jean Bandy- Cook, Suzanne Bradford- Educational Assistant, Betty Cooper-Cook, Jennifer Cowan- Educational Assistant, Gail Crips- Secretary, Evril Cubbins- Educational Assistant, Regina Daw- Cafeteria Manager, Rebecca Ervin- Cook, Starr Ferrell-Educational Assistant, Terrie Ford- Educational Assistant, Crystal Gordon- Educational Assistant, Kenneth Gordon- ESL Assistant (English as Second Language), Phyllis Hallum- Educational Assistant, Sherry Judkins- Custodian, Thelma Martin- Educational Assistant, Denise Merriman-Cook, Angie Moore-Educational Assistant, Rebecca Moss- Educational Assistant, Lynn Pichey-Custodian, Jo Dean Redmon- Lunch Monitor, Linda Sorrell- Educational Assistant, Diane Trapp- School Bookkeeper, Kim Violet- Custodian, and Elizabeth White- Cook

DeKalb West School:

Holly Bain-Educational Assistant, Donna Driver- Cook, Dorothy Duggin-Custodian, Tina Edwards- Educational Assistant, Ruth Frazier- Custodian, Pauline Frazier- Custodian, Stephanie Fuson- Educational Assistant, Shelly Gibson- Educational Assistant, Lisa Hale- Secretary, Donna Hale- School Bookkeeper, Nancy Mulloy- Cook, Faye Nixon-Cook, Tina Paschal- Educational Assistant, Elizabeth Redmon-Educational Assistant, Tonya Roberts- Educational Assistant, Kristi Sullivan- Educational Assistant, Linda Vickers- Cook and Georgia Young-Cafeteria Manager.

County Wide Positions:

Chandra Adcock- School Nurse, Jenean Bain- Bus Assistant, Sandra Billings- Substitute Bus Assistant, James Carroll- Substitute Custodian, Cindy Childers- Coordinated School Health Assistant, Billy Curtis- Special Needs Driver (car) Bettye June Dodd- Bus Assistant, Christie Driver- School Nurse, Kelly Driver- Part-Time Physical Therapist, Elise Flannery- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Sharon Farler- Substitute School Nurse, Greg Frasier- Computer Technician, LeAnne Frasier- Library Assistant (half time at Smithville Elementary School and Half Time at Northside Elementary School), Mary Gay- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Melissa Fuson- Substitute School Nurse, Billy Golden- Maintenance Worker, Rebecca Hawkins- Substitute Bus Assistant,, Darnette Hibdon- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Terry Hicks- Maintenance Worker, Earl Jared- Maintenance Supervisor, Freda Johnson- Bus Assistant, Eddy Roy Judkins- Maintenance Worker, Michael Lambert- Substitute Custodian, Penelope Mason- 21st Century CCLU Site Coordinator, Teresa Miller- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Brad Mullinax- Technology Director, Tamara Murphy- Substitute Nurse, Greg Muskopf- Special Needs Substitute Driver (car), Jean Neal-Bus Assistant, Shirley Ours- Special Education Secretary, April Odom- Attendance Clerk, Angela Patrick- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Cathy Patterson- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Melissa Pirtle- Food Service Bookkeeper, Jo Dean Redmon- Part Time Custodian- Brian Reed- Alternative School Assistant, Joyce Robinson- Payroll/Bookkeeper Central Office, Teresa Sullivan- Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School, Glynn Taylor- Bus Assistant, Janice Tanner- Substitute School Nurse, Kimberly Turner- School Nurse, Pam Turner- Substitute School Nurse, Barbara Vanatta- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Jamie Vickers- Secretary/Bookkeeper Central Office, Judy Wiggins- Substitute Bus Assistant, Linda Williams- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Joannie Williams- School Nurse, Jeanette Young- Substitute Cafeteria Worker, Rita Young-Attendance Clerk at Northside Elementary and Smithville Elementary School, and Tara Young- Substitute Cafeteria Worker.

Transportation:

Peggy Pursell- Transportation Supervisor, Orlando Guzman- Mechanic, and Rick Holcomb- Mechanic.

The following are bus drivers:

Harold Ashford, Karen Adkins, Neil Brown, Dwayne Cantrell, Dinah Cripps, Elaine Davis, Debbie Eaton, Marshall Ferrell, Starr Ferrell, Linda Fowler, Bill Fowler, Lynn Griffith, Judith Hale, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Michael Kingsbury, Kimberly Lawson, Angela Lawson, Bobby Martin, Ronald Merriman, Jimmy Mullican, Linda Gail Pack, Walter Phillips, Faye Pollard, Jimmy Poss, Tony Poss, Peggy Pursell, J.T. Pursell, Melvin Riley, Bobby Taylor, B.J. Thomason,and Mark Violet.

Substitute bus drivers are: Danny Bond, Julie Fitts, Tina Fletcher, Daniel Lawson, Dwight Knowles, Eric Snow, and Suzanne Williams.

Three educators are retiring, including Kathy Lawrence and Pat Allen, teachers at DeKalb West School and Betty Hickey, teacher at Smithville Elementary School.

Jan Alexander, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School was granted a leave of absence as requested. Starr Ferrell, educational assistant/bus driver, was also granted a leave of absence as requested.

New Academic Requirements Proposed for Future DCHS Valedictorians and Salutatorians

May 12, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
David Gash

A new policy is being proposed for DeKalb County High School that would change the academic standards in determining the top ranked students as well as the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of each graduating class, beginning with the Class of 2014.

Starting with incoming freshmen who will be graduating in 2014, students would have to complete the more challenging honors and advanced placement (AP) courses in order to be eligible for Valedictorian and Salutatorian and their ACT scores and attendance would also be factors.

A committee, made up of local educators, has been studying the issue and is recommending this new policy to the board of education, which apparently must give it's approval.

David Gash, assistant principal at DCHS and chairman of the committee, says one of the purposes of the proposed new policy is to increase enrollment in the honors and advanced placement courses. "Research has shown that students who are exposed to more rigorous course work in high school are better prepared for college. We feel that by raising the expectations for our students, we are better preparing them for the future."

Under the proposed new policy, DCHS would no longer average the Quality Points Average (QPA) on a four point scale or Grade Point Average (GPA) based on a numerical value. Currently, the highest QPA that a student can earn is a 4.0. Students are then ranked based on a numerical value (GPA 0-100). The Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and top-ranking students are those with the highest numerical value. Under the new policy, the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and top ranking students will be determined based on a weighted 6 point scale (QPA). The student with the highest (QPA) would be the Valedictorian. The non-weighted 4 point scale would only be used, under the new policy, to determine student eligibility for lottery funded scholarships.

Under the new policy, students enrolled in "honors" and "advanced placement" (AP) courses could earn the following points:

Honors
A= 5
B= 4
C =3
D= 2
F=0

AP
A=6
B=5
C=4
D=3
F=0

ACT SCORE: Students, under the new policy, would be required to have a 21 or higher on the ACT to be eligible for Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and top ranking in the class.

HONORS COURSES: Students, under the new policy, would be required to take a minimum of ten honors and/or AP courses to be eligible for Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and top ranking. Honors courses taken by the student must come from English, math, science, social studies, or foreign language in order to be eligible for Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and top ranking.

ATTENDANCE: Students, under the new policy, would be required to complete four full semesters at DCHS. Two of the semesters must occur during the senior year. Attendance would only affect Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Attendance would not play a role in student ranking.

TIE BREAKER: If at any time there is a tie between students' GPA's, the school will look at the numerical grade value to determine which student should be ranked the highest.

Once a student has met the requirements for ACT, honors courses, and attendance, the student with the highest GPA will become the Valedictorian. The student with the second highest GPA will be the Salutatorian. The other students would fall in rank based on their GPA. Students who do not meet the new requirements would be ranked AFTER all the other students are ranked who DO meet the new standards.

The committee, which was formed to research other school systems, consists of Chris Vance, Debi DePriest, Jenny Norris, Leslie Rice, Eric Sanders, Melissa Ruch, Rolando Navarro and Lori Myrick, in addition to David Gash. The committee contacted over 40 school systems in Tennessee to collect data to be evaluated.

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