The school board had previously settled on a couple of systems, but has since changed direction. At the Tennessee School Board Convention in Nashville recently, the Cleveland board sat in on a presentation by the Oak Ridge Board of Education about its new evaluation system.
With assistance from the Oak Ridge group, the local board has adopted this new formula by a unanimous vote.
The previous selections included one that was used to evaluate former director Dr. Rick Denning, and a second option being used by the McMinn County Board of Education.
This new formula developed in Oak Ridge is described as “qualitative and quantitative.”
Board chair Peggy Pesterfield said new Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff has seen the new formula, “and he likes it.”
Board member and former chair Dawn Robinson said she likes the fact this formula provides board members with an opportunity to determine if they did their job in providing Ringstaff with the tools to do his job.
“You’re accountable for what you write, and the scores you give,” said board member Steve Morgan.
Robinson said the Oak Ridge school board used professionals from among its members to compile the formula. “These are people who have done these evaluations before (in their careers),” she said.
Pesterfield emphasized a committee was formed to recommend an evaluation process for the director.
Morgan made a motion to approved the Oak Ridge model as a whole, with a recommendation from the committee.
“We have expectations for our administrators, and our teachers, and it should be the same for our director,” Pesterfield said.
The final model to be adopted by the board is expected to be formulated by Dec. 31.
Other school board notes:
n Robinson brought the board up to date on tentative plans by the state Legislature to cut the amount of Hope lottery scholarships.
Robinson said high school students may have to meet both criteria of scholarship requirements, or their grant will be decreased by half in a proposal by the Lottery Stabilization Task Force. She added that private colleges are saying this will hurt enrollment.
n Robinson also reported on ideas being considered by the Bradley County Commission to raise funding for education.
“Right now they’re batting around a wheel tax,” she said. “They (Commission members) may vote to take it to a referendum.”
She said if county voters were to approve a wheel tax in August, it could be up to two years before any revenue is realized. Robinson said board members may be called on to promote a wheel tax in the community.
“We’ve done that before,” said Steve Morgan. “And, we’ll do it again,” Pesterfield said.
Dr. Murl Dirksen asked Robinson about the attitude of the county’s education and finance committees on raising school revenue with a wheel tax.
“The education committee was for it, but the finance committee wasn’t,” she said.
“But, the public is pretty smart,” Robinson added. “If they understand what it is, I think they’ll support it.”
“We’ll have to be positive,” Pesterfield said.
n School board members discussed what they brought back from the TSBA convention in Nashville.
“It was informative, concerning money that could be available,” said Tom Cloud.
“The governor (Bill Haslam) was able to come talk with us, and he’s putting a priority on education,” Robinson said.
Dirksen praised a presentation by Upland Design Group of Crossville, the firm which designed Cleveland High School’s new science wing. “Their presentation was focused on Cleveland,” he said.
Upland’s design was chosen as No. 1 in the state in architectural renovations for the past year.
Pesterfield said she served as a moderator for a presentation by history museums in Cleveland and Athens. “They’re a wonderful resource that we can use,” she said.
Ringstaff said he was proud all seven board members were able to attend the convention and discuss the current teacher evaluation process.
“I enjoyed it, and it will help us get to where we’re trying to get,” he said.
n Pesterfield expressed the board’s appreciation for the newly renovated meeting room at the central office. Monday’s meeting was the first by the board in the new facility, although the site committee used it previously.
“It’s been quite an adventure for me and Brenda Carson (the school system’s financial officer),” said Ringstaff.
n The board had planned to visit the Teen Learning Center in downtown Cleveland Dec. 15, but that visit is being delayed until after the first of the year. The students are off half a day on the 15th.
n Ringstaff and energy director Paul Ramsey reported a window had been broken by a rock over the weekend at the high school. They said they are looking at the possibility of installing security cameras at the school.
n A maintenance crew is working on a drainage ditch at the high school, a project that will cost about $700. Ringstaff said these funds will come from the maintenance budget.
n Dirksen, chairman of the site committee, reported on the panel’s last meeting.
“We discussed the proposal from the Trane Company to enter into a contract of HVAC needs for the east wing at the high school,” Dirksen said.
Ringstaff said the administrative staff is still trying to get a soft-numbers estimate on HVAC renovation at the high school. He said the numbers “hopefully” will be available for the next site committee meeting on Dec. 14.