The Monroe County Board of Education, wearing special shirts to honor Melinda Fowler, Mary Millsaps and other friends of the school system who are battling cancer, tackled a number of topics during its Thursday meeting.

In addition to hearing the results of the graduation survey, approving the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Board of Education and the professional employees of the Monroe County School System, and hearing updates from its Maintenance Department (See related stories inside this issue), the School Board had several new and old business items to attend to.

At the request and motion of 3rd District’s Sonya Lynn, the School Board voted to purchase the Stop It App from TN Risk Management Trust. With a simple mobile app, STOPit instantly and anonymously connects people with those individuals who can resolve issues. STOPit also equips administrators with a smart, easy backend system which supports anonymous two-way communication and a host of other tools to save time and conduct an effective, efficient investigation.

The cost is 69 cents per student for sixth through 12th grades.

“I think that’s a good program,” said Lynn. “Students may use it more if it’s on the phone and anonymous.”

Lynn also asked what was going on with the Tellico Plains High School access road. Carroll told the board that he is hoping to have it out in newspapers for bids later this week.

“Sounds like we’re trying to get all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed,” said 1st District’s Larry Stein. “Still working through the process.”

“We’ve been working through it for several months,” replied Lynn.

“It takes several months to get stuff like this done,” responded Stein.

The board also approved a lengthy consent agenda, several budget amendments, for the Tennessee Department of Health Wellness Survey to be given at Sequoyah High School, the Attendance policy on its second reading as recommended by the Policy Committee and the Class Ranking and Weighted Courses policies on their first reading, and the ground lease between the school system and the City of Madisonville for a new fire hall, pending a grant being awarded.

With the request for qualifications (RFQ) bids in for building projects at Madisonville Middle School, Tellico Plains Junior High School and the Sweetwater High School gymnasium annex, the School Board must now narrow down the list of interested contractors. At the motion of 2nd District’s Marsha Standridge, the board changed the grading point scale slightly to help them with the process, making references count for a little more than normal. In a roll call vote, Upton passed and Stein voted no, but the change still passed on a majority vote.

Before the closure of the meeting, the board voted to move its September meeting to Sept. 6.

In his director of schools report, Blankenship said that the Madisonville Primary School roof replacement is on schedule.

Teachers will return to work on Aug. 2 and a county-wide in-service day on Aug. 6 will feature safety training with Homeland Security. The first day of school is Wednesday, Aug. 8 and schools will dismiss at 10 a.m. that day with no buses running. The first full day of classes for the 2018-19 school year is Thursday, Aug. 9.

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