Carter County School Board workshop provides positive glimpse into next meeting

Published 4:28 pm Friday, October 9, 2020

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The Carter County School Board met for their October workshop via ZOOM on Thursday.

The meeting began with finances led by Michael Kennedy. Kennedy presented budget amendments that will be needed for approval at next week’s official meeting.

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Among these amendments was for vocational meat processing, which is seeking to recognize $80,800 to be put in their vocational equipment line item.

Tracy McAbee, director of schools, recalled a story involving this money. He said he remembered one Friday when Cody Ayers came by in a time crunch needing permission to write for a grant through the CARES fund that aims to provide aid to anyone who can process meat as there is a shortage. He wrote the grant and received the funds.

This story was met with praise from the board.

Following the presentation of additional financial budget amendments, Informational Items were on the agenda. McAbee spoke.

First under this section of the agenda was robotics. McAbee took the time to discuss funds previously awarded through grants and money that was left over.

Due to time running short and impacts with COVID-19, it was important to transfer funds to aid in things like equipment, competition travel costs, etc.

McAbee said in explaining this, he really wanted an opportunity to brag on these kids for their accomplishments.

Another item discussed in detail during the workshop, also under the Informational Items aspect of the agenda, was workforce development.

McAbee said he participated in the Health and Welfare Committee and the Grounds Committee on Tuesday regarding Broadband and the Workforce Development Complex. McAbee expressed interest in using this for CTE classes.

“One of the pushes I have for this area is CTE classes,” he said.

He explained the importance he sees in learning trades.

“I know many, many people who are working in jobs that are not in their degree,” he said. “If you have a trade of some sort, you can make a good living.”

When he looked at the complex, he saw potential. McAbee, while saying there is nothing wrong with school, he believes that this can help graduates enter into the workforce successfully as a tool. Scheduling was also discussed.

The Commission is interested and has asked for information regarding CTE programs and space needed. The Board was interested in the idea as well.

The remainder of the workshop consisted of information being provided regarding the upcoming visit from Dr. Keith Brewer and COVID-19.

Brewer is coming to aid in cost savings research. He will be meeting with officials throughout the school system and touring facilities on a set of three days. Dates of availability were given to the Board.

McAbee then presented the latest information on COVID-19 as the meeting drew closer to its end. He said during his meeting with the Health Department, no red flags were presented to rethink current decisions, noting the positivity rate is going down and the testing rate is increasing.

There is currently one staff member in isolation and four in quarantine. There are four students in isolation and 30 in quarantine as of Thursday.

“Everything I have received so far has been positive,” he said. “If there is anything negative, and I’m sure there are issues, but everything overall has been positive.”

The next official school board meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. The workshop can be viewed in full on the school system’s Facebook page as well.