Huntingdon School Board changes meeting time

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For the last 50 or so years, the Huntingdon Special School District Board of Education has been meeting either at 7 or 7:30 p.m., but that changed Thursday night when board members decided to change the board meeting time to 5 p.m. However, the third Thursday of each month was kept as the meeting date.

The 7 p.m. time was especially kept because of the Tucker family whose family members Marge, and sons Tony and Tim all served on the board and didn’t close the family business, City Drug, until 7 p.m. The family business has been sold and none of the Tuckers work there anymore. However, Tim Tucker is still a member of the board. Then while James Neely was a member of the board and was president of the AFL-CIO Labor Council and served as state commissioner of the Tennessee Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development, the school board met at 7:30 p.m. because he had to drive from Nashville.

Another custom that has been held for a number of years will not happen this year. The board will not have a joint venture meeting this year. Generally in Dec., the board selects a day to set goals for the school district after meeting with the principals of the primary, middle and high schools. As a group, board members tour each of the schools during the day.

Director of Schools Pat Dillahunty suggested that it be postponed until spring.

“Let’s hold off until spring and then we will have more to talk about,” she said. “I just don’t have anything to tell you now.”

The next meeting will be Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. The Nov. and Dec. meetings will be combined into one meeting in Nov. with the date not set at this time.

Dillahunty said the Fall District meeting that generally is held at one of the schools in the district will be online Sept. 29 at 5 p.m.

New board officers were elected during the meeting. Lee Carter was elected again as chairman with Tucker as vice chairman and Vicki Williams as secretary-treasurer.

Two different board policies were passed.

One concerned the reporting of child abuse. In explanation, Dillahunty said the state General Assembly made significant changes in several statutes that govern child abuse reporting requirements. Two of the most notable changes included the requirement to have one employee designated as the Child Abuse Coordinator at each school and the prohibition against notifying the parents/guardians of suspected child abuse that occurs on school property. The Tenn. School Board Association (TSBA) has revised the school district’s model policy to align with the new law.

The second change involved alternative education.

Dillahunty noted that the state General Assembly passed Public Chapter 603 which clarifies that students who commit zero tolerance offenses are not required to be placed in alternative schools or programs. Additionally, the state board recently approved a regulation clarifying the difference between alternative schools and programs as well as the reasons that may justify removing a student from an alternative school or program. As a result, TSBA has updated and retitled the school district’s model policy to align with these changes.

The consent agenda that passed included a budget amendment and an extended contract program for the 2020-2021 school year.

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