Potts To Serve As School Board Chair

Jefferson Elementary Cross Country Team back from successful tournamentPhoto submitted

Jefferson Elementary Cross Country Team back from successful tournament
Photo submitted

Newly re-elected School Board Member and previous long standing chair, Anne Marie Potts, was elected as Chairman of the 2018/19 Jefferson County School Board. With all six of the currently serving members present, the School Board unanimously elected Potts to lead the Board during their voting meeting Thursday evening.They also unanimously elected another senior member of the Board, Randy Bradley, to fill the position of Vice Chair. Though in most recent years Potts had declined to put her name in the hat for the seat of Chair, she previously served several terms as Chairman or the Board.

While most of the business of the Board was general housekeeping in nature, including the passage of three budget amendments, Vice Chair Bradley brought two motions to the floor for consideration. The first motion was to give Director of Jefferson County Schools, Dr. Shane Johnston, the authority to negotiate on behalf of the Board the purchase of land sitting between Jefferson County High School and the Patriot Academy known as the Shrader Farm and to provide the Board with a fair market appraisal of the property in question. While some communication with representatives of the property appear to point to an inflated compensation request, it was noted that the figure may be in line with what was previously paid for property in the area by the Jefferson County School Board. Bradley’s motion was successful and Johnston will return to the Board with the information requested.

In his second large motion of the evening, Bradley offered a motion that would earmark $150,000 of insurance recovery money for a practice field for the soccer team. Previously, the Lady Patriots Soccer Team had made a presentation to the Board requesting assistance with issues concerning parents such as practice off of campus, no locker or dressing rooms, no bathroom facilities at the off campus practice site and no shelter, leaving the team vulnerable while changing clothes and during inclement weather, as well as when in need of bathroom facilities. Board Members appeared to share the parent’s concern and vowed to address the situation. Transportation to the off campus site began to be provided and a port a potty was place on the site but no shelter from inclement weather has been addressed to date and those that have to remain in class till the final bell are using the port a potty as a clothes changing facility. During recent meetings the Board has begun consideration on a more comprehensive plan and there are plans for a “walk through” this month to determine needs. During discussion Bradley stated that he did not intend for the $150,000 to address all of the needs but it would “keep us honest in our intentions”, noting that sometimes projects, despite the best initial intentions, get absorbed in larger capital projects. Chair Potts stated that she did not want to piece mill a project and some Board Members noted concerns with coming multiple times before the County Commission. New Board Member Robbie Pinkerton questioned why parent booster groups, like the football sideline club, were not addressing the issue. Director Johnston stated that equity in male and female sports were covered in title nine and are the responsibility of the school system, regardless of parental involvement, though he did note that there is a booster for the Lady Patriots Soccer team but this issue is out of their purview. Johnston suggested that any plan should have input from coaches and athletic director, as well as other stake holders. While every voting member of the Board gave verbal support to the Lady Patriots Soccer and Softball teams, Bradley’s motion failed 4-1 with Bradley voting in favor and Board Member Fair exiting the meeting before the vote.

Decisions on who will represent the Board on various committees was rolled to the October meeting.