The Hamilton County School Board began their Monday agenda meeting by mulling over the possibility of electing new leaders within the board and its various committees. The discussion was started by board member Jenny Hill, who said she wanted to lay out the expectations of what was expected out of leaders.
She also floated the idea of having a new vice chairman, a position currently held by District 3’s Joe Smith. She did say she did not want to be a chairman, and that she wanted to simply discuss it. Chairman Joe Wingate said that he was happy to stay on in the top leadership post until the board no longer wanted him in that role.
Ms. Hill said she thought Tiffanie Robinson would be a “tremendous” chairman for the board next year. She pointed out that Mr. Wingate has held the role for two years, and said it is a stressful position for someone to hold for multiple years.
“I’d be happy to consider it, and if the board wants me to do it, then I’d do it,” board member Robinson said, while pointing out that being a leader during COVID would present new challenges. ”I think it’s a really important year, so no matter who the chair is, we have a leader who focuses on the issues we need to focus on.”
Ms. Hill then said she was looking to possibly move into being on policy committee, as that is a crucial role. Ms. Hill has been the legislative representative for the last two years.
“I’d like to step back from that role. I’m interested in being on the policy committee this year,” Ms. Hill said. “I think we have opportunities this year, and that I’d really like to be in a point-person role.
Board member Robinson then asked if any other board members had an interest in being on committees, and she said the policy committee was the most active of the various ones this year. She said facilities in general are a subject that will probably be an important topic.
“I’m open to whatever, whatever you all think will be most productive,” Chairman Wingate said. “We’ve been showing up for everything anyways. Everyone is interested and coming, so let’s designate someone who has an interest and background to really keep us informed.”
Ms. Hill also said one of these important subjects will be the three-year budget. She said that with COVID-19 negatively affecting the economy, it has made many of their plans no longer relevant.
“As I look at the reports of how the budget is changing because of COVID, where we’re pulling from one line item to another, to have a budget point person on the board would be tremendous,” she said.
Mr. Wingate said he was open to making decisions about looking into the budget. He said it can be discussed at the following Thursday school board meeting.
Among things to be discussed on Thursday are a bevy of bid and contract items. One of those is a brief discussion by the school board to renew Hamilton County’s subscription to DecisionEd Software Maintenance, which includes IBM Cognos.
Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson said this subscription “is what we use for our entire data system, in order to share information.”
Dr. Nakia Towns elaborated on this. “It is the value add vendor. So the underlying product is Congos. It helps This is where you saw all of our teacher and principal dashboards. All of that disparate information, we try to put it all in one place so teachers and principals know how they are performing in a number of metrics.”