The Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday recognized its teachers of the year. Thirty-two teachers received the award for their contributions at their schools. Three of the educators were distinguished as systemwide teachers of the year. The award is given to educators at three different levels, pre-k to 4th grade, 5th through 8th grade, and 9th through 12th grade. The three systemwide teachers of the year are Debbie Shroyer, Jason Dehart and Cynthia Leslie.
Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel also announced that Bradley High School Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Richmond Flowers was awarded the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Pro-Start State Educator of the Year. Chef Flowers will travel to Chicago to be presented the award at the foundation’s national convention.
In his Director’s report, Mr. McDaniel announced that the Bradley County school system has been awarded a Youth Career Connect Grant. The federal grant is designed to help school systems address workforce needs by partnering with local industry to provide students with real work experience and career development via paid and unpaid internships. It also bolsters classroom activity that will prepare students for employment in high-growth industries.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the director’s tenure recommendations, student handbook policy changes, and the textbook selection committee’s recommendations for textbook purchases. Board member Rodney Dillard was absent and Board member Chris Turner abstained from voting on the textbook motion, as his wife was on the textbook committee.
Director McDaniel presented to the board a cursory outline of the General Purpose School Fund Budget for the 2014-2015 school year. The skeletal framework lists the director's prime objectives for the upcoming budget planning, as well as some of the funding priorities. Director McDaniel’s goals for the new budget are to maximize the use of available resources, while providing the school system’s students with the best possible educational opportunities, and to present a balanced budget. Among the priority funding needs listed were the salaries of the faculty and staff, instructional and technology support, systemwide operational costs, and transportation.
During discussion on the budget for the upcoming school calendar, board member Nicholas Lillios proposed setting aside $2 million out of next year's budget to start a savings fund for the school system's capital projects. Mr. Lillios further suggested that an additional $3 million be set aside in the next two years in order to help pay for the Lake Forest Middle School construction. He said there is not any new money coming in, and that money had to be borrowed from the city of Cleveland to help pay for some current projects, “It’s time that we become self-sufficient,” said Mr. Lillios.
Board member Turner commended Mr. Lillios for taking a difficult stance, and added that he felt that issues with the Common Core curriculum are driving students from the school system. He cited as an example the fact that local private school Tennessee Christian Preparatory School has a waiting list for the upcoming school year. Director McDaniel acknowledged that some decisions need to be made soon, but stated that he is not so sure that deep of a budget cut is feasible at this time.