Macon County’s Adult Education program, which has long been supervised by Brenda Eller under the Macon County Board of Education, may change hands within the next few months.
The state is mandating consolidations for Adult Education programs in many counties, Eller explained at last week’s Board of Education meeting. As of right now, each county receives the same funding, no matter how many GEDs they actually produce. The money for Macon’s program was coming from the Department of Labor and being funneled through the Macon County Board of Education.
Now the state is consolidating counties by reducing the number of supervisor positions, putting as many as five counties under one supervisor.
Volunteer State Community College has proposed apply for the grant needed to run the new Adult Education program that includes both Macon and Sumner counties. If the grant is acquired, they’ll handle the hiring of a new supervisor for both counties, as well as teachers for the program.
Eller, who was ready to retire, said she thinks the consolidation is a good thing, as it will save money for the county. She agreed to support Vol State in its endeavor, so long as they promised to hire from Macon County wherever possible in the new program.
Eller and Vol State President Dr. Faulkner explained the development to the board during Thursday night’s meeting. They requested a pledge of $6,000 to $8,000 from the board, the required 10% match that these grants ask from local government. These funds are basically enough to cover facility, utilities, and computer upkeep for the Macon County program. The board voted to approve this request.
Eller said her position is already a full time one, and that whoever might take the new combined position “will be doing what I’m doing right now, with twice the amount of travel and bookwork. It will be 2-3 times more involved.”
One would hope that the new program will maintain the standard that the GED program was used to under Eller.
“We even have people who come in from Sumner and other counties and want to be in ours,” said Eller. “We don’t set them down and say you have to be in class so many hours. We do sort of a fast track; we let you come in and do an assessment, and tell you how long it will take. Sometimes it will take two weeks, sometimes it will take two months, depending on a persons’ skill level.
“For example, we let a person come and stay an hour, or stay three hours. We tell them if they don’t stay, they won’t be gaining that skill, but if they need to stay 1 1/2 hours and go pick up a child, they can do that. We give them freedom because we consider them to be adults. We can’t make them get their GED. I think it’s kind of like a spouse that you keep on a chain. If you give them that freedom, they’ll want to come back.
“Two this week have come from another county, because they said they didn’t feel comfortable around the teacher… I’ve always had good teachers. That’s been my key. Good people skills are required. We also do a little bit of Christian counseling in our program whereas other people may not.”
The grant request should come back in late March, Eller said. Nothing about the change is final until the grant is approved or denied.
Other items on the Board of Education meeting agenda:
*Policy 1.205 Board-Director Relations was passed on 2nd reading.
*Policy 3.5001 Food Service Offer vs. Serve was passed on 2nd reading.
*A low bid for school locks from Tuck’s Building Center out of Lafayette was accepted on 2nd reading. Tucks’ will install new safety locks in all Macon school classrooms at a rate of $118.35 per lock.
*A low bid for panic buttons in schools from Korrsen out of Hendersonville was accepted on 2nd reading; their quote was $10,992.
*A bid for school enclosures passed on 2nd reading. Macon County Glass Service will install safety doors inside the front entrance of all Macon County schools for a bid amount of $21,975.
*The board approved to fund up to $10,000 for an architect to begin design on ALC buildings.
*The board shelved a plan to consolidate lunch programs for the next work session. Food Service Supervisor Dawn Thompson will provide a pros/cons list at that time so that the board can better understand the options.
*The board approved to advertise for bids on the purchase of a small special education bus.
*The board approved to extend a previous contract with Josten’s for Macon County High School’s yearbook.
*Some slight revisions to Policy 3.202 (Emergency Preparedness), Policy 4.205 (Enrollment in College-Level Courses) were approved.
*Policy 4.602, addressing GPA and class ranking, was brought for a vote. The policy change had it that any ties in class rank would be broken by ACT scores. Jimmy Cook requested a roll call vote: “I just want to vote against it, okay? I just do. I hate that ACT.” Rebekah Tuttle spoke to the motion after it had failed, saying that some change needed to be made: “The way we calculate GPAs currently is detrimental to the students who want to take additional classes,” she said.
*Policy 5.113, In-service and Professional Learning Opportunities was revised on 1st reading, expanded to meet new state standards for professional learning.
*Policy 6.201, Compulsory Attendance, was revised on 1st reading. The revision changed required birthdates of incoming Pre-K and Kindergarten students. Previously, Pre-Ks had to be 4 and Kindergarteners had to be 5 by September 30. The date is now August 30 for the year 2013, and will be August 15 for 2014.
*A revision of Policy 6.309 Zero Tolerance Offenses, was tabled for the next work session.
*A revision of Policy 6.312, Use of Personal Comm. Devises and Electronic Devises, passed 1st reading. The policy change would have allowed principals to give less than four days of probation to students who violate school cell phone policy.
*A new policy regarding academic requirements for those graduating with honors and distinction passed 1st reading.
*A new policy passed 1st reading, making school employees responsible for comments made online, even at home on their own time, if the comments are directed towards students or the schools system. Steve Walton went on the record voting against the revision. Walton said that he felt the revision was treading too close to 1st amendment rights.
CERTIFIED POSITIONS HIRED
Rhonda Cothron—Macon County Jr. High Volunteer Assistant Tennis Coach
Karen Dean—Central Elementary Teacher effective 2-1-13
NON-CERTIFIED POSITIONS HIRED
Zachary Trobaugh-Macon County Junior High School Volunteer Assistant Soccer coach
Wendy Taylor—Macon County Junior High School SPED Teacher Assistant
Bethany Shirley—Lafayette Elementary Teach Assistant
Angela Bandy, Shelby Bolton, Jesse Dulworth, Rickey Jones, Sarah Veatch, Kelli Wiles
Shirley Wheeler—Central Elementary Teacher
Wendy Taylor—Macon County Junior High SPED Teacher
Elizabeth Dodson—Red Boiling Springs Jr. High Assistant Softball coach