Bradley School Board Votes To Keep Current Lawyer

Friday, June 13, 2014 - by Tony Eubank

The Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday struck down a motion to fire attorney Charles Cagle of the Lewis, Thomason, King, and Krieg law firm, in favor of new legal representation. 

Attorney Cagle spoke to the board in his own defense, outlining his and his firm’s expertise in education law. Mr. Cagle addressed some questions that the board had about the cost of his legal services and concerns about conflict of interest. Mr. Cagle that he does not charge a retainer fee to school boards and never has and that he only bills Bradley County Schools for work that has actually been done on their behalf.

In regard to his work with various educational lobbyist groups, which include Tennessee SCORE and AIMS, Mr. Cagle informed the board that his main function with those groups is in the reviewing of contracts and documents in order to ensure the legality of actions being taken by his clients.

“The conflict of interest that has been talked about, there is a primary target here and that is Pearson, AIMS, and TOSS. I don’t represent individual municipal school systems through AIMS, I represent AIMS the organization. Similarly I don’t represent superintendents through TOSS,” said attorney Cagle in during his refutation of any conflict of interest.

He said that even though his firm represents a large swath of educational groups, that they have never been caught in a conflict of interest. Board Member Chris Turner, who introduced the motion, took exception to this statement. Mr. Turner said while no conflicts may exist at the moment, that they are going to come. “The bigger that you get, the more fingers you have in the pie, the more complicated it is to manage the potential for conflicts of interest,” said Mr. Turner.

Board member Charlie Rose also expressed concerns about the amount of corporate money that now influences public education. “When you get all those big conglomerates together and all that money behind them, I get a little leery, because I’m concerned about the amount of funds supporting them and the lack of funds supporting us, makes it very difficult at our level to make decisions to address the needs of our children in our schools,” said Mr. Rose.

Board member Troy Weathers, in support of keeping Mr. Cagle on, said, “Our folks are looking for the answer and looking for the right answer, not maybes. They’re looking for a person that can give good answers that they can act on and feel safe and feel like they’re going to tie the next six months, or year or two of their life up in litigation. If we choose to go away from Mr. Cagle and their representation, we’re making a huge mistake.  That critical information that they give us instantly makes a huge difference in where we go."

The Board ultimately struck down the motion by a vote of 4 to 2, with Nicholas Lillios and Chris Turner casting the only yes votes. Board Member Rodney Dillard was absent.

The Board also heard an update from Angie Lyons on the Lake Forrest Middle School auditorium project. She said that Traveler’s Insurance has approved the current schematic for the renovation, with the changes that they requested so that the insurance funds can be used for the project. Ms. Lyons also stated that it is time for the project to move into the construction document phase, in order to keep the project on a timeline that would insure that the funds are used before their expiration date.

The Board also presented Director Johnny McDaniel’s annual performance evaluation.  Mr. McDaniel received an overall score of 3.58. This score is the average of seven categories that the board used to measure the directors performance. Mr. McDaniel was scored using a 1 to 5 point scale with 1 representing significantly below expectations and five representing significantly above expectations. Troy Weathers commended Mr. McDaniel’s performance stating, “We have a 94 percent at Bradley and a 95 percent graduation rate at Walker Valley High school. It’s unheardof to have that kind of success and we’ve had that under this director of schools.”

Mr. Weathers also stated hat he feels that Mr. McDaniel should have gotten a higher score, adding that the if the Board is looking at results, then the results have been outstanding. This statement received a huge applause from the audience.

In other business, the Board voted 4 to 2 to pass a change to the rules concerning appeals and appearances before the Board, with Board members Christy Critchfield and Troy Weather casting the two dissenting votes.  


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLISON, DELWIN DEWAYNE  3401 CAMPBELL ST APT 1003 CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 47 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ESCAPE DOMESTIC ASSAULT --- BAKER, JERMICHAEL LEVILLE  1213 SHOLAR AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 28 years old Arresting Agency: Chatt. Housing ... (click for more)

Just 3,267 Have Voted In The City Election After 7 Days Of Early Voting

Just 3,267 Chattanooga voters have cast ballots after seven days of early voting leading up to the March 7 city election. One day just 48 people showed up at the Northgate voting site. Only 88 went to the most popular early voting site - the election office off Amnicola Highway the same day. The high turnout thus far has been 199 at the election office on Tuesday. The ... (click for more)

Getting The Message

Our school age youth have inspired me with their responses during “Q and A” sessions after my readings as a volunteer during African American History Celebrations and Read across America Celebration, too.  Before this school year, I read to classes at Orchard Knob Elementary School and at Rivermont Elementary School, here in Hamilton County.   Their answers to factual ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ed Chief ‘Embarrassed’

At the start of the school year in September, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Candice McQueen held an “educational summit” with state legislators from embattled Hamilton County. The entire “summit” took a prescribed 90 minutes and was such a dog-and-pony show her strongest statement was, "Create your plan around the right vision, have some metrics and align to the right ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Softball Ranked No. 33 In MaxPreps Preseason Top 50

Ooltewah’s softball team is ranked No. 33 nationally in the Maxpreps Preseason Top 50 and junior Kayla Boseman is on the website’s preseason All-America team. The Lady Owls finished third in the 2015 TSSAA Class 3A state tournament, but was eliminated by Stewarts Creek 6-2 in the sectional. Ooltewah has a combined record of 81-16 over the past two seasons. Coach Jon Massey ... (click for more)

Silverdale Girls Claim District 5-A Championship

The face and philosophy might have changed, but the expectations for the Silverdale Baptist Academy girls’ basketball team remained the same. Heading into the season with five seniors and a first-year, first-time head coach in Victor Underwood, the Lady Seahawks had their sights set on winning a District 5-A championship. Wednesday night, they achieved that goal with ... (click for more)