The South Carroll Board of Education voted 4-1 to extend the contract of Director of Schools Lex Suite by one year during the March 18 meeting.
School board members Christy Blount, Nick Cobb, and Tom Miller and chairman Corey Bartholomew all voted in favor of the motion for the extension by Miller. Board member Donna McDaniel-Cox voted against the motion.
The board’s action extends Suite’s contract, which was set to expire in June of 2022, out to June of 2023.
Before the vote, McDaniel-Cox requested that they delay making a decision regarding Suite’s contract until the April meeting.
Bartholomew, however, said that they usually deal with matters of directors’ contracts early in the year before the annual re-hiring is done for other staff members.
“I feel like the director’s contract needs to be addressed before anyone else’s,” said Bartholomew. “That’s why we always do it this time of year.”
Suite was hired unanimously by the board back in June of last year to re-place retiring Director Dr. Tony Tucker after David Huss, the board’s first choice for the job, turned down the position.
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In other business:
•The board welcomed student board representative Sarah Derryberry to her first school board meeting. A 17-year-old senior and the daughter of Terry and Kelli Derryberry, Sarah will be allowed to vote on motions, though her vote will not be officially counted. Sarah also serves as president of the FFA and is a member of the Student Council, yearbook staff, Beta Club, and Youth Leadership Carroll County.
•The board voted unanimously to rescind the mask mandate for students to make mask wearing optional and authorizing Suite to reinstate the mandate at any time if there is a spike in COVID cases.
•Parent Regina Singleton addressed the board requesting that her three children be allowed to return to in-person learning after switching to virtual learning earlier in the semester. Singleton said she moved her children to virtual learning when they were exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, though they were never tested for the virus. She said that since then, teachers have failed to communicate with her regarding testing and that she feels her children are being mistreated. Suite pointed out that policy only allows students to switch once between in-person and virtual learning per semester, and Bartholomew said he supports Suite’s decision in the matter. Singleton then said she needs the names and addresses of board members so that she can serve legal documents.
•Jamie Petterson addressed the board about the need for better maintenance of the softball field, suggesting that the board hire someone dedicated to keeping the ball fields and facilities in good condition.
•Bartholomew shared the results of Suites annual job evaluation by the board, pointing out that Suite scored 105 out of 140 overall, which indicates that he consistently meets job expectations.
•The board voted to renew the district’s Reading Safety and Health Program through TOSHA on a second reading.
•The board gave second reading approval to policy updates regarding leave, charter school applications, and physical examinations and immunizations.
•The board approved a board policy update allowing for students with asthma to self-medicate with an inhaler in emergency situations.
•The board gave first reading approval to a policy update combining two existing polices on textbooks and instructional materials.
•The board approved a policy update regarding zero tolerance offenses that had been tabled at the January meeting.
•The board adopted a district mission statement and a set of goals established at a recent board work session. Bartholomew said Suite needs to work with other staff members to come up with objectives and strategies to meet these goals.