School Board hears public concerns

The Campbell County School Board held its first meeting of 2022 this past Monday evening. The first order of business was electing the new Chair and Vice Chair for 2022. Motions nominating Dr. Scott Miller as Chairman and Mark Epperson as Vice Chairman were presented and passed. Clerk Michelle McClanahan and Deputy Clerk Tracie Dobyns were re-elected to their respective positions. Superintendent Dr. Robert Johnson presented standing committee appointments, and these were nominated and elected.

Meeting times for the remainder of the school year remain the second Monday of the month with the fourth Monday being held in consideration if a second meeting is necessary. Johnson recommends that future meetings be held at the Campbell County Technical Center Boardroom. On the occasion that a larger venue is required, the board would seek appropriate accommodations.

Exceptions to these dates include February 7. School is not in session on February 21; therefore the meeting is moved to February 22. As April’s meeting is during Spring Break, that meeting has been moved to April 25. The July meeting has been moved to July 25. The board approved these meeting dates.

The public had the chance to speak to the board regarding the budget. Members of the community are required to sign up in advance to present their budgetary concerns. The different topics presented to the board for consideration included the need for a full time teacher to teach the Bible as a literary tool, understanding “the value of a dollar,” and the rate of inflation versus compensation for teaching staff. Bob Markey spoke of the message being sent to the staff about their value based on the raise percentage. Also brought forth are concerns about the readability and transparency of budgets and proper explanation of line items and a manipulative form for the public to use.

The board also heard concerns from the floor unrelated to the budget. Charity Torrence spoke regarding open internet in school systems, the use of personal cell phones by students during the school day, and the effect it has on teachers’ ability to teach. Torrence said the response is “reactive versus proactive.” She proposed the board look into programs such as GoGuardian Suite to give teachers the power to manage students’ laptops while they are teaching and Securely, which monitors and reports website usage to the parents. “The government gave us all this funding for all the students to have a car but did not take into account the funding that is needed in each locality to provide brakes or seat belts for those cars,” she observed. Chairman Miller acknowledged Torrence’s concerns and stated that this was something he had not seen from that standpoint, but that needs to be taken seriously and followed up.

Further concerns included COVID funding, terminology regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT), and the implementation of cultural competencies for educators. Public concerns were voiced that the board is disregarding or “ignoring” the public. Jaclyn Mendez proposed solutions for the board to consider to alleviate the concerns of the public with suggestions such as creating an online platform to get better connected with the community.


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