MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Career Center school board on Thursday voted 7-0 to revise its public participation policy. With the revisions, proposed by board members Paula Barone and Margie Bennett, individuals wishing to be placed on the meeting agenda still need to notify the KCCC 10 days in advance of the meeting, but individuals wishing to speak at the meeting may now sign up just prior to the start of said meeting. The more than 200 people in attendance at the meeting applauded when that resolution passed.
The audience was not so pleased when the board voted 6-1 to non-renew the contract of early childhood education instructor Ann Johnson, who founded that program at KCCC. Paula Barone was the sole board member to vote against the measure. No reasons were given for the board’s actions at the meeting, and afterwards, board members refused to comment or referred the News to board president Richard McLarnan. McLarnan also declined to give any rationale, stating that it was a personnel matter and the board “is not really supposed to talk about it” in public. Johnson also declined comment.
Other personnel actions taken by the board included the employment of EMIS/technology coordinator Paul Napier and technology coordinator Nathaniel Greene and the approval of adult education personnel, summer workers, classified and certificated substitutes for the day school. Ray Goetzman was also employed for the summer grounds crew, with board member Jody Goetzman abstaining from that vote. Keith Chester was added to the substitute bus driver list with board member Ruby Miller abstaining. No action was taken regarding engineering drafting instructor Steve Jefferson.
Besides approving routine fiscal actions, the board accepted the donation of four wall-mountable hand sanitizer dispensers from Dr. Pala to the adult education medical assisting program.
Additional actions taken by the board included the approval of a number of field trips and the adoption of a revised 2012-13 day school calendar.
Information technology and business and finance academy programs were featured at the beginning of the open meeting. IT instructor Ann Marie Orr and junior students Trenton Peters, Bryce Pigman and Zaine Swann discussed activities in their lab as well as their activities with Business Professionals of America and real-world IT experiences.
Business and finance academy students Amber Drabick, Chelsea Moran and Courtney Strait assisted instructor Tammy Klein in talking about community service activities and experiences at the national BPA competition.
The next presentation, by Samantha Schneider of Sabo Limbach Energy Consultants, concerned energy conservation and measures that could be taken to reduce the center’s utility bills.
Jeff Salva, architect, Green Valley Designs, gave the board information about the day school library expansion project and said, if things go as planned, the project will be completed — or the library will at least be operational — by mid-August.
Just prior to adjournment, the board heard from six individuals during the public participation portion of the meeting.
After the meeting, community member M.E. Carpenter said she was disappointed: “I think they [the board] procrastinated as long as they could to let the individuals speak. They strung that time out. I am proud of all the people who waited. I’m just really disappointed in the board. I’m disappointed in the superintendent and her right hand man. We had two sons who went here, and our one son was in Mr. Jefferson’s class. Now he works as an engineer; he graduated with high honors out of college and he represents his company internationally. ... Mr. Jefferson, he’s wonderful and the program is so wonderful. It’s just too bad that it’s not back to where it should be.”
Several of the KCCC teachers at the meeting, said they, too, were disappointed. They said the current situation at the career center is “scary and sad” and the students are hurting because of it.
The next meeting of the KCCC school board will be Wednesday, May 16..
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