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McKenzie School Board Installs DeLoach as Student Representative, Approves Policy Amendments

By Lyndsey Summers
Posted 8/9/22

The McKenzie Special School District Board of Education met Tuesday, August 2 in a regular meeting following the first day back to school. 

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McKenzie School Board Installs DeLoach as Student Representative, Approves Policy Amendments

The McKenzie Special School District Board of Education met Tuesday, August 2 in a regular meeting following the first day back to school. 
Kicking off the meeting, Jon Davis introduced McKenzie High School junior Skyelor DeLoach as the board’s newest Student Board Representative, an advisory, non-voting position. Led by Director of Schools Lynn Watkins, DeLoach took the oath of office. 
The board approved amendments to school board policies in compliance with new state laws. The first policy relieves the school system from the competitive bidding process formerly required before contracting legal services, educational consultants, services from an insurance provider and similar services by professional persons or groups of high ethical standards. 
A new piece of legislation causes the McKenzie Special School District to review library material annually to ensure materials are appropriate for the age and maturity levels of the students who may access them, contain literary, historical, and/or artistic value and merit, offer a variety of viewpoints and are suitable and consistent with the educational mission of the school. Parents can find a list of library books available at each school’s library on the school’s website. The new policy establishes a complaint process, wherein an employee, student or parent/guardian can make a formal complaint regarding library materials. 
A policy concerning the nationwide teacher shortage was also approved. Teachers who retire under the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System may be employed for up to 120 days per year without losing their retirement benefits. Individuals must be retired for at least 60 calendar days to qualify for re-employment. 
In a new policy, it must be stated in a separation letter if a non-tenured teacher is fired due to loss of funding.
The board approved the removal of a driver’s license policy stating students must make passing grades in at least three subjects at the end of a grading period to reclaim a driver’s permit or license. Students have their license or permit revoked if they have ten consecutive unexcused absences or fifteen unexcused absences in one semester. 
An approved policy no longer requires the director of schools to notify the Commissioner of Education if the school board denies the enrollment of a student suspended or expelled from another school system. 
A new policy requires all employees working directly with students to annually complete the child abuse training program required by state law. The training program, which teaches individuals how to identify potential abused students, was previously required for all employees.
Board member LaShonda Williams amended the agenda to include a policy involving teachers’ COVID leave. The policy allows employees ten days of COVID leave. 
The board approved all eight policy amendments upon their first reading. 
Food service bids were approved: Produce from Volco/HPS/GFS; milk and milk products from Volco/Prairie Farms; ice cream products from Volco/Turner Dairy; food/non-food supplies from Volco/HPS; and bread from Flowers Baking Co. 
Lynn Watkins reported first day of school numbers at roughly 1,050 students attending across all three schools with a few absences. With Kindergarten and Pre-K beginning August 3, he anticipated close to 100 additional students attending. 
Watkins reported construction updates regarding the elementary and middle schools. Construction in both schools should finish by the end of August. The elementary school’s air conditioning unit in the gymnasium should be on one day this week, and the middle school’s gymnasium air conditioning should be on the following week.
Utility work for the all-purpose sports facility is underway. Little construction work can begin until the football team is off the practice field.
At the meeting’s conclusion, Lynn Watkins recognized Jon Davis and Greg Barker, who did not seek school board re-election. Greg Barker wished the school board candidates good luck with the August 4 election and said he looks forward to seeing who is elected onto the next school board. 
“There’s been some ups and some downs…Looking back, it all looks easy now,” Davis joked. The two joined the school board fifteen years ago, appointed Lynn Watkins as director of schools 13 years ago, and have dedicated countless hours to the board.


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