School board approves policy changes

Published 9:03am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Elizabethton Board of Education members approved approved several local policy changes to comply with changes set by the Tennessee School Board Association or Tennessee state law.

Board member Catherine Armstrong questioned the update for a policy regarding tobaccofree schools. She said she felt the punishment – a citation to appear in court – was “too harsh” for a student caught with tobacco products.

Board Chair Rita Booher pointed out the punishment was in accordance with state law, and was the same punishment in the current policy. She explained the only difference was the addition of electronic cigarettes that will be banned by the policy.

Booher and Phil Isaacs voted in favor of the change and Armstrong voted against. Grover May and Connie Baker were absent.

Armstrong asked that the update for the policy on separation practices for non-tenured teachers be amended so separation letters would only be delivered before or after class or during the teacher’s planning period, and not during instructional time. The board unanimously approved the change.

The updated sick leave policy, requiring a doctor’s note for a five-day or more absence, was also passed.

Administrative Assistant Clara Perkins explained the change would allow the central administration employees and school administrators to better plan for an absence and get the necessary paperwork completed beforehand.

“This is not a policy to encroach on their lives,” Perkins said. “This is for bookkeeping and logistical purposes. We are not trying to find out what’s wrong with them. We are trying to make sure there are people in place to teach the children.”

The board also approved the addition of a kindergarten teacher at East Side Elementary and changing an assistant to the teacher from part-time to fulltime at T.A. Dugger Junior High School.

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