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Vo-Ag Dept. Receives Approval to Apply for Enhancement Grant to Construct Greenhouse

By Crystal Howerton

The February 21, 2008 meeting of the Knox County Board of Education convened at 9:20 p.m. in the high school boardroom immediately following the Varsity basketball games.
Minutes were approved and the payment of bills was authorized, including a payment in the amount of $32,000 to The Young Group for the high school roof project, which was being held until a final evaluation was made.  Having completed the inspection and checked again for leaks following rains, Superintendent D.J. Leverton recommended that the Board release the check for payment.  Upon unanimous vote, the payment was authorized and the high school roof project paid in full.
On behalf of the School Board, Secretary Chris Harrison expressed his appreciation to the Knox County CTA for the baked goods provided during the recent School Board Appreciation Week.
Administrators’ reports were heard.  Elementary Principal Marty Strange discussed plans for the upcoming PTO carnival, including the "Kiss the Pig" contest, a fund raising effort in which students bring their change to the teacher of their choice.  Whichever teacher collects the most money will kiss a live pig during an assembly.   Fifth grade students have been earning privileges to help transition them to the middle school next year, which include the right to sit in a spot of their choice during lunch period and familiarizing themselves with lockers.
Middle School/High School Principal Andy Turgeon informed board members that a recent fire drill turned intruder drill went well on February 13.  The drill, originally designated a fire drill was changed to an intruder drill due to the weather. Administration was hesitant to have students waiting outside because of recent sickness.  A fire drill is being rescheduled. 
Principals Strange and Turgeon also discussed MAP Rewards Days, which are scheduled in March.  Fifty-eight fifth and sixth grade students will be seeing a movie and skating.  Sixty-eight middle school students will also be seeing a movie and bowling.  Seventy-seven high school students will travel to the St. Louis Mills Mall.
Assistant Principal/ Transportation Director Steve Ramer reported that all of the new door locks have been installed with the exception of the office.  He also mentioned that the district has used approximately 1,000 pounds of ice melt in an attempt to keep up with the large amount of snow and ice this winter.  The district is having some difficulty locating ice melt as there seems to be a shortage in the area.
Supt. Leverton discussed two House bills, which may affect the district in the future.  Representative Rod Jetton has sponsored House Bill 2040 Educational Personnel Compensation, which changes the laws regarding various forms of compensation and benefits for education.  It has not been funded yet, however there is lots of support for this bill.  He recommended that the Board refrain from making any decisions concerning salary until they know if the bill has passed or not. 
Sponsored by Representative Maynard Wallace, House Bill
See SCHOOL, Page 14
468 Motor Fuel Tax Exemption for School Buses exempts fuel used in school buses for the motor fuel tax when the bus is used to transport students for educational purposes.  If passed, Supt. Leverton said this could save the district $5,000 off the approximately $27,000 in fuel used by the district.
Per Supt. Leverton’s request, Board members voted to authorize Supt. Leverton to make decisions based on recommendations made by the School Health Advisory Committee as they can be implemented.
Coaches Jesse Crawford and John Weaver discussed the basketball program with Board members in an Activities Report.  According to Crawford, the basketball program has improved significantly in the past two years and he feels that the team has a legitimate shot at the District title.  Together, the coaches discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the basketball program.  Areas of strength include teamwork and unselfishness.  Suggestions were made regarding the lack of fundamentals and it was recommended that fundamentals be a main focus for fifth and sixth grade players.
Vo-Ag Instructor Jessica Erwin informed the Board of an enhancement grant application in progress for the purpose of providing the district with a greenhouse.  Erwin suggested that horticulture is becoming increasingly familiar in the area of agriculture and she feels it would draw additional interest and be a benefit to the district.  She said that the curriculum is already there, however, the district lacks the hands-on experiences for students. Supt. Leverton added that specific plans for a greenhouse would not be necessary unless the grant is rewarded. Erwin asked the Board for approval to proceed with the grant application, which is due February 28.   The Board voted unanimously to proceed with the grant application, Board President Joe Delaney adding, "This sounds like a very worthwhile project for the District to pursue."
Board members granted Supt. Leverton’s request to approve make-up days for the two sick days missed recently, which have been scheduled for March 24 and May 20, 2008.
MSIP Coordinator Marilyn Waite presented policies and regulations for the Board’s approval.  The following policies and regulations required revision and adoption: Policy 2522 – Students – Student Academic Achievement – Grading Systems; Policy 2525 – Students – Student Academic Achievement – Graduation Requirements; Policy 2540 – Students – Student Academic Achievement – Early Graduation; and Regulation 2540 – Students – Student Academic Achievement – Early Graduation (New).