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Howard Proposes Meeting Change To Provide More Input On White Co School Issues

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Howard Proposes Meeting Change To Provide More Input On White Co School Issues

White County School Board Member Dewayne Howard wants to change the board’s planning meeting dates to allow for more input and study.

Currently, school board members hold a committee session just prior to the School Board Meeting each month. Howard said that means digesting a lot of information in a short amount of time.

“So if we wish to have this meeting two weeks prior to tonight’s meeting right here, we could skip a lot of this that we’ve gone through tonight,” Howard said. “We could sit here and hash out things and have plenty of time to do it. We come here at 5:00. We’re giving multi hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars of things to do, sometimes 20 and 40 policies to look over that we’ve seen for maybe two days and then we’re expected to vote on them an hour later. It’s just designed to set up to be a formality.”

Howard suggested meeting every two weeks with the first date being a work session. The discussion of how the change could help with regular business turned quickly to unhappiness from Howard about the school board’s lack of involvement in the budget process.

Howard said school board members need to be more involved at the “bottom level up.” Howard said he wanted more line-by-line involvement in the creation of the school system’s budget. He challenged his fellow school board member to truly explain the budget process. He also said policy requires that an elected official be involved in the budget.

“We went over that, and we were given that information,” Chairman Bob Young said. “We had opportunity to comment on that, make suggestions, recommendations, and so from that standpoint, served like any other member.”

“All we got was the rubber stamp,” Howard said. “Someday, sometime, there’s going to be a school board sitting right here that refused to be just a formality, and they’re going to vote no on a budget, okay?”

“I don’t consider my input on that budget a formality, so I would disagree with you on that because I do my homework on those budgets, as I’m sure most all of you do,” Young responded. “And I felt like I was well informed to make a decision on that.”

Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger said any school board member is invited to be part of the two days of meetings that help begin the process to formulate the budget. He said he joins with the school’s bookkeepers and the finance director to meet with principals to get input on things that need to be considered.

“I’d be glad to welcome you into those meetings,” Dronebarger said. “I’d like to think that I’ve been fiscally responsible over the past seven years. There’s been no impropriety, there’s been nothing to hide, and there’s nothing to shame. So any board member is welcome to sit in on those conversations.”

The board did not take action on Howard’s proposal.

In other business Thursday night, the board approved an updated budget on ESSER 3.0 funding provided to the school system. Dronebarger said the majority of the funds are committed to the BonDeCroft updates. A total of $4.6 million budgeted for that project. An additional $170,000 will be spent on tutoring.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brittney Whitehead recognized the system as Storm Ready. The program requires all schools to have a plan in place to receive warnings, where to shelter students, and to deal with storm situations. Transportation officials have also received a seminar in how to deal with storms.

“I think you should be very proud of all the work they’ve done,” Whitehead said.


The post Howard Proposes Meeting Change To Provide More Input On White Co School Issues appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.