In her first Monroe County Board of Education meeting on Thursday afternoon as the new director of schools, Dr. DeAnna McClendon thanked the board and community for the opportunity to serve in the position.

“I appreciate the opportunity to come in and serve the families and the children of Monroe County,” said McClendon. “To work as hard as I can for you guys. We got rolling right away trying to get a budget in that you could feel good about passing to send over to the county. I am excited and happy and look forward to what is coming ahead from Monroe County. I’d like to say that we will be an Exemplary District just as soon as we can get in there and work as hard as we can to make it happen.”

McClendon’s first task as director will not be an easy one, however, as the school system is struggling to pass a balanced budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Following a budget workshop that afternoon, the School Board voted unanimously to send McClendon to ask the Monroe County Commission for $810,484.85 to fund the budget. Second District’s Janie Harrill made the motion with a second from 1st District’s Dewitt Upton. The County Commission was set to meet the following morning — Friday, July 12 — at 9 a.m. in the JP Kennedy Conference Room in a workshop for all departments to go over their proposed budgets.

“You all may have to go with her (McClendon),” School Board Attorney Doris Matthews suggested to the board. “Anybody that can should go.”

“What they’ve asked us to do is for me to give a presentation over our cuts that we did do, as well as what the board felt like we were going to have to add back in,” explained McClendon. “I will be responsible for explaining that, and I guess they can make a determination from there.”

See full coverage of the County Commission’s workshop on page A1.

Also at Thursday’s School Board meeting:

  • The School Board approved the consent agenda, minutes from several meetings held in June and early July and numerous budget amendments.
  • Second District member Dr. Jason Miller announced that several students have already sent in applications for the student representative role on the School Board. He suggested a committee be formed again to select the student representative for the upcoming school year.

“Maybe five folks could serve on the committee,” he suggested. “One from each district and maybe Dr. McClendon and Mrs. (Kristi) Windsor.”

Third District’s Jo Cagle and 1st District’s John Ridgell will join Miller on the committee, along with McClendon and Assistant Director of Schools Windsor.

Miller suggested the committee meet before the August School Board meeting to decide on a student representative.

“Then, we can announce it and the student will be able to start in September,” said Miller.

The School Board unanimously approved the committee members and Miller’s suggestions.

  • Maintenance Director Phillip Carroll told the board he had been approached by an individual in the Tellico Plains community who wants to add a 24-by-24 building at the Tellico Plains Junior High School football field.

“Down on the far end on the home side, next to the end zone,” said Carroll, noting that no funding for the building would come out of the Maintenance Department’s budget.

Carroll said the building would be a stick-built building with metal sides and roof. Because it is a permanent structure on school property, Carroll said he needed School Board permission to allow the person to proceed with plans.

Third District’s Cagle said it was her understanding that the building would be used for storage for equipment and such for the new junior high football program.

She made the motion, and the full board unanimously agreed to allow the person to add the building.

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