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Cleveland City Board of Education Approves Title I Status System-wide

by Tonya Brantley

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Cleveland City Board of Education held their regular monthly meeting on February 1, 2010. The following are highlights from that meeting.

Autumn O'Bryan, Cleveland Central High School principal, presented the Cleveland High School (CHS) compliance proposals for graduation requirements starting with the Class of 2013. The Tennessee Diploma Project has been approved by the State. According to O'Bryan, the State only requires 22 credits, however most places will not accept State diplomas anymore. CHS requires 28 total credits to graduate. The proposal requires freshmen students to take four credits of English, science - including biology and either physics or chemistry, and math - including Algebra I, Algebra II and geometry. Students must also take two credits of a foreign language, three credits of history, one and a half credits of physical education / wellness and  a half credit of personal finance. Much like college students, O'Bryan stated, students must decide on a focused area of study requiring three credits in their chosen study. Board member Tom Cloud is concerned about graduation rates due to the required math courses. Board member Steve Morgan said, "Once again, we have something here the government is pushing on us." Director of City Schools, Rick Denning replied, "The government is here to help you." O'Bryan indicated over the course of the next two years, an additional two to three teachers will potentially need to be added. Board member Dawn Robinson made the motion to accept the proposal. With a second from board member Evelyn Rockholt, the motion passed unanimously.

The board discussed the revised long range facilities plan. Dr. Denning recommended the board designate 10 percent of the annual sales tax revenues for a capital reserve fund and an additional 10 percent of annual sales tax revenues for technology to be expended annually. The board had many questions and concerns regarding the long range facilities plan budget. Robinson recommended a special meeting devoted to the plan's budget and mentioned more dialog is needed between the board and the city council.

A special called meeting to discuss next year's budget is scheduled for March 9, 2010 from 4pm-6pm. Several board members recommended the budget be placed on the city school system web site for the public to view.

Dr. Denning recommended that the board approve a system-wide Title I school system. The U.S. Department of Education set up Title I to distribute additional funding to schools who qualify. If 40 percent or more of a school's students qualify for free or reduced lunches, they are eligible. As of December 2009, the system average for students receiving free or reduced lunches in Cleveland City Schools was 60.43 percent. Title I schools receive additional funds for personnel and resources and have the ability to distribute technology equipment system wide. For the current school year, all Title I personnel will remain where they are. With a motion from Morgan and a second from Cloud, Title I restructuring passed unanimously.

School Board Chairman, Peggy Pesterfield  announced the appointment of committee members. They are as follows: TN Legislative Network (TLN) - Dawn Robinson, Sick Leave Bank - Tom Cloud and Steve Morgan, Insurance Committee - Evelyn Rockholt, Site Committee - Murl Dirksen, Tom Cloud and Steve Morgan, Board Policies - Evelyn Rockholt, and Dawn Robinson was appointed as a liaison to work with Dr. Rick Denning on the budget.

Due to inclement weather, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Max Carroll Science Wing at CHS has been rescheduled for February 14, 2010 at 2pm.

The Cleveland City School Board meetings are held on the first 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.