BOE Called Meeting and Work Session Notes - September 20, 2016

The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education held a called meeting and work session on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Several key items were discussed, including:
  • A recommendation regarding health insurance coverage for KCS employees for 2017;
  • A proposed resolution for submission to the TSBA regarding online training for Board members; 
  • A request to accept an Arts Build Communities grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission;
  • A report on facilities and summer maintenance;
  • A review of potential new KCS Board policies, including the introduction of bereavement leave for employees; and 
  • An update on district Technology.
Called Meeting and Work Session Audio
Called Meeting Notes
Chief Human Resources Officer Mrs. Jennifer Guthrie provided an analysis of the current KCS health insurance plan, as well as the recommendation regarding health insurance coverage for KCS employees for 2017.
  • Please click the file "9-20 HealthInsUpdate 9-20-16.pdf" below to view Mrs. Guthrie's review, outlining the option of remaining self-insured under a new network or returning to the State insurance plan.
    • A return to the State plan will require a vote of employees to approve the move.
    • Remaining self-insured would include a move to a new network, Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
  • Given the projected costs and risks involved, the KCS recommendation is to return to the State plan for 2017, utilizing the process and timeline outlined in the attached presentation.
  • Because this recommendation involves implementation of a new plan design and administrator, Mrs. Guthrie also requested that the Board approve the necessary steps to implement the new health insurance plan, including potential contractual changes with current providers (with consult and approval of KCS administration and Mike Billingsley, Kingsport City Attorney). 
  • After reviewing the 2015 & 2016 plan analysis and recommendation for 2017, the Board approved the recommendation and approved administration taking the necessary action regarding contracts with current providers by a vote of 5-0.
Board President Mr. Eric Hyche reviewed a proposed resolution for submission to the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA).  Such proposals are submitted yearly to the TSBA for consideration, where the TSBA may elect to use such proposals to prioritize policy and legislative areas of focus for the year.
  • The proposed resolution would allow for school board members to complete required and elective training modules through online and on-demand participation.
  • Board members throughout Tennessee are required to participate annually in seven hours of training through the School Board Academy.
  • This resolution will allow board members to complete this training online, which would be more efficient, more cost-effective for school districts, allow board members flexibility in acquiring training, and lower barriers to school board membership for parents of school-aged children and those who are actively employed.
  • After review and consideration, the Board voted to submit this proposed resolution to the TSBA by a vote of 5-0.
    • After receiving the resolution, the TSBA Board of Directors will vote up, down, or no position on the resolution.  
    • If approved, the resolution will proceed to the Delegate Assembly for vote in November during the TSBA Annual Conference to be held in Nashville, TN.
Mr. Andy True, Assistant Superintendent - Administration, presented a request for approval to accept an Arts Build Communities (ABC) grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission in the amount of $960.  
  • This grant will help purchase supplies needed for students at Lincoln Elementary and Dobyns-Bennett High School to design and paint tiles depicting the history of transportation in Kingsport, with an emphasis on trains.
  • The grant will also help fund installation of the tiles on an exterior wall on one of the buildings which will be constructed or renovated in Centennial Park.  Centennial Park is a planned development in downtown Kingsport, adjacent to the train station, which will be dedicated during Kingsport's 2017 Centennial celebration.
  • This is a "matching funds" grant, requiring a 1:1 match.  Matching funds will be provided from the Kingsport City Schools Communications budget.
  • Dobyns-Bennett art teacher, Mrs. Juanita Mitchell, is providing leadership on this project in conjunction with Lincoln's art teacher, Mrs. Hollie LaRue.
  • After review and consideration, the Board voted 5-0 to approve acceptance of this ABC grant.
Detailed Work Session Notes
Mr. Bill Shedden, Supervisor of Maintenance and Custodial Services, provided a KCS facilities/Summer maintenance report.
  • Capital improvement projects included replacing five HVAC units, flooring installation, roof work, and partial paving at multiple schools.
  • More than 4,000 work orders were received during FY 2015-16.  The majority of work orders were related to issues with doors and locks, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.
Board member Mr. Todd Golden and Mr. Andy True, Assistant Superintendent - Administration, reviewed three proposed new KCS policies (for discussion and potential action at the October Board meeting).
  • Policy 3.205 - School Safety Plan, addresses a State requirement that school boards adopt a comprehensive policy addressing a district-wide school safety plan for crisis intervention, emergency response, and emergency management.
  • Policy 5.403 - Alcohol and Drug Use, addresses a State requirement that employees engaged in safety-sensitive positions be tested for drugs/alcohol; i.e, when student transportation is provided by a district.
  • Policy 5.3021 - Bereavement Leave, establishes parameters for leave related to the death of an employee's family member.
    • Employees would be able to utilize three days of bereavement leave per year without having to take sick leave for such absences.
    • Note that approval of this policy would also require revision of Policy 5.302 - Sick Leave, related to "Conditions and Definitions for All Personnel."
  • After discussion and review, the proposed policies will be considered on first reading at the October business meeting.
Mr. Scott Pierce, Director of Technology, presented an update to the Board on KCS Technology.
  • Projects for the 2015-16 year included purchase of nearly 3,000 devices and continued deployment to students in grades 4-12, wireless upgrades, and balancing.
  • Planned projects for 2016-17 and beyond include developing a systematic approach to updating all devices, improved communications, development of a Technology Advisory Group, implementation of Cloud-based technology, and infrastructure upgrades.
  • 1:1 implementation continues throughout the district.  Hardware costs for the district in 2015-16 were $87,500.  The district has approximately 8,700 computers, with 4,800 of those assigned to individual students.
  • Technology personnel spent 1,818 hours repairing equipment.  Structural and display damage accounted for the largest percentage of repairs required.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 6 p.m.  The meeting will take place in the Tennessee Room of the Administrative Support Center (400 Clinchfield Street).
Read and follow our blog, "We Are KCS" to learn more about the great people and programs of Kingsport City Schools.  Check it out at