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Putnam BOE Approves Grant Funding To Start New Strategic Plan

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam BOE Approves Grant Funding To Start New Strategic Plan

The Putnam County School Board started the process to create a new, long-term strategic plan Monday.

Director of Schools Corby King said a lot has changed since the plan was updated 10 years ago. Board members discussed the growing community, federal COVID money expediting capital improvements and increasing salaries in districts across the Upper Cumberland.

“I think this is a good time to look at engaging the community, updating the plan, choosing a vendor, submitting a RFQ that looks at all of out plan,” King said.

The Board of Education approved seeking vendor proposals during a special-called meeting Monday. King said the plan would help guide the school system’s spending in the future.

“It gives us a target,” King said. “It let’s us know one, where we are regionally and statewide in terms of salaries and benefits and taking care of our employees, because we want to be at the top of that list.”

King said recruiting and retaining teachers and support staff has been increasingly difficult. King said neighboring counties are becoming more competitive and less people are entering the profession.

“Our neighbors, because they’re in the same boat we’re in, have increased salaries, and they’ve kind of caught up,” King said. “We were paying more, but a lot of our neighbors have caught up. We have lots of folks who live in Overton County and Jackson County, because it is a little bit cheaper to live there and drive to work here for a higher salary. Well, if they are catching up, now they can stay at home.”

King said growth of Putnam County, especially in the K-8 grades, also calls for talks of a new high school down the road. King said the idea can be pushed down the road for now.

“If all of these developments that we keep hearing about come to fruition, that’s a conversation,” King said. “We’re not going to be able to house anymore students at Cookeville High School much sooner than anticipated. We all know of the developments happening in Baxter.”

A $350,000 planning grant for being a Best for All District will fund the school board’s initiative. The school system earned the state recognition last year for investing federal COVID into student achievement. King said a special called meeting and work session was scheduled for Monday to approve a spending plan by Friday’s deadline.

“It’s money that we usually wouldn’t have for a vendor,” King said. “I think we should do that.”

King said he also considered an expansion of the system’s virtual school and employee bonuses. However, King said the money would not go a long way, considering building costs. King said employees would only get about $200.

The post Putnam BOE Approves Grant Funding To Start New Strategic Plan appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.