BOE Decisions Questioned

At Thursday's Loudon County Board Of Education meeting, several important decisions were made prompting questions from some board members and the public.

The board voted to accept the whittled down list potential new school director applicants. They had previously hired Wayne Qualls to go through all the applications and bring back the top six applicants for the board to consider. Another round of interviews will be conducted to cut the list to three.

The board also voted to grant tenure to thirty teachers. Disturbingly, one teacher on the list is awaiting a hearing before the Loudon County Grand Jury. The teacher was arrested last year and charged with DUI. The arrest warrant states;

 The officer found the teacher's vehicle stopped in the roadway. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver did not respond to a request to roll down the window. The driver then made a "U" turn and drove off. The officer then pursued the car which finally stopped. Upon contacting the driver, the officer noted that he was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol and preformed poorly on sobriety tasks.

At least several BOE members and administrators were aware of the pending charges, yet BOE member Gene Walker was the only one not to vote for tenure. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but to grant tenure to a teacher who has yet to answer the DUI charges would seem to send the wrong message to students.

With no plan, no money and no construction coming anytime soon, the board voted to hire a construction management firm to help with future construction projects. A committee of three BOE members which was never approved or voted on by the board, recommended hiring Merit Construction. BOE members Walker and Leroy Tate voted no on hiring the firm citing concerns as to the timing of the decision. BOE  member, Bill Marcus, assured the board that just voting to hire the company in no way obligated the board to pay anything at this time but to just start the discussion.