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City Board of Education Votes on Fundraisers, Chair Positions

by Ashley Murphy

Tuesday, January 12, 2009

The Cleveland City Board of Education held their first regular monthly meeting since returning from the holidays on Monday, January 11, 2009. First order of business was to approve the consent agenda, however, board member Steve Morgan asked that the approval of fundraisers be pulled and voted on separately.

After approving the consent agenda without the fundraiser approval, the board moved on to review the 2009 annual report. There were concerns brought about by board members regarding the per pupil expenditures for the City of Cleveland. Currently, the State of Tennessee spends approximately $8,518 per pupil, while the City of Cleveland is lacking on their spending with $8,438.

Director of Schools Dr. Rick Denning said this was in part to the many capital projects the school system had going throughout the year. While there is only about an $80 difference, board members asked that this number be looked at and to possibly come up with a way to have local funds match State funds on per pupil expenditures.

Scott Carroll, Athletic Director at Cleveland Middle School came before the board to request lighting and stands for athletic fields located at the school. Carroll stated that it would be approximately $220,000 to complete this project. Funds are tight right now, but he asked that the board review this project and try to help out the school. Carroll believes that Cleveland Middle School's athletic fields are the only fields in the city to be without lights and these lights are needed in order to complete certain athletic activities.

Cleveland City Schools Energy Education Specialist Paul Ramsey announced during the meeting that a free online energy tracking tool is now available for use. This new website, GreenQuest, can help users track and analyze the energy use for their home or place of business. It has been made available for free to district residents to educate, raise awareness and promote energy conservation. For more information, visit

Child Nutrition Supervisor Shelly Copeland updated the board on the City School Free and Reduced Lunches Program. Numbers were printed to reflect standings as of November 2009. System wide for City Schools, there is an average 62.01% of students currently on the free/reduced lunch program.

A lengthy discussion ensued after the topic was turned to calendar options for the 2010-2011 school year. Several board members preferred Option B, due to a later class start date and less time off for "Fall Break." Chairwoman Peggy Pesterfield, however, liked the idea of having the Monday after Easter off of school and asked Dawn Robinson to amend her motion. Pesterfield's alternate suggestion was to adopt Option B for first semester and Option A for second semester. The suggestion was welcomed by the board and the motion passed with Evelyn Rockholt voting against it.

Steve Morgan requested the next item be pulled from the consent agenda and voted on separately, because it consisted of the sale of cookie dough. Dr. Denning stated that the cookie dough company is Tasty Batters and it has no connection to previously recalled cookie dough and is salmonella free. Motion to approve passed unanimously.

Board member Dawn Robinson's discussed possible dates for the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the new Science Wing Addition at Cleveland High School. The date has been set for Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 2 p.m. at Cleveland High School. This seemed the most logical date to accommodate busy schedules and to allow student involvement in the ceremony.

The Cleveland City School Board will be participating in Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Day on the Hill on February 23, 2010.

"The annual 'Day on the Hill' event provides a unique opportunity for the education community, bringing school board members, superintendents and state legislators together for breakfast, fellowship and a discussion about pending legislation and public education."

Board members will attend and be able to talk with their local legislators one on one and express all of their concerns, plans and what they hope the future to be like in our local districts.

It was also that time of year to hold the annual election of Board Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Chairman Pro Tem. Peggy Pesterfield gained a nomination for Board Chairwoman. After a unanimous vote, Pesterfield maintains her position as Board Chairwoman.

Tom Cloud received nomination for Vice-Chairman and received a unanimous 'yes' around the board. Steve Morgan received the nomination for Chairman Pro-Tem and received a unanimous 'yes' to hold the spot.

The Cleveland City School Board meetings are on the 1st Monday of the month at 5:30pm at the Administration office building located on the E.L. Ross Elementary School campus on Mouse Creek Road. All meetings are open to the public.