By a 3-1 vote June 5, the school board approved placing on the Nov. 4 countywide ballot a binding referendum that would end the direct election of the superintendent and have the school board responsible for making the hire, beginning in Oct. 2016 at the completion of Superintendent Nina Marks’ term.
County commissioners now have the responsibility to arrange to have the measure placed on the general election ballot.
The only school board member to oppose placing the referendum before voters was Teresa Ann Martin. School board member David Hinton was absent.
School board member Pam Shiver, who first suggested the proposal to her colleagues a few months ago, made the motion, with a second from George Thompson. The only member of the audience to speak out on the matter was Carrabelle’s David Butler, who made a brief statement.
“I think the people should be able to figure the facts, the pros and cons,” he said. “It’s better than to have two elected bodies affecting our school process.”
Martin said she had spoken with voters in her district, which is the Hill area in
“That’s just my district,” Martin said. “I think it is because they didn't want to put the control in five board members’ (hands), and they felt like if we did it the right way, and we would, but it only takes three board members to approve it.”
Martin said because there are single districts, and not countywide voting, for school board seats, these constituents believe “we can’t hold all five board members accountable and we would like to continue to control it ourselves.”
She stressed that “I’m open for everybody and I work for everybody,” but that based on the views of her district constituents, “they more likely want it to be elected.”
School Board Chairman Jimmy Gander, who is not running for reelection after 20 years on the board, said he preferred to let voters decide the matter. “I do feel like let the people vote, let the people speak and let the people do what they want to do,” he said.
After they approved placing the matter on the ballot box, the board members agreed that the general election would be preferable to the Aug. 26 primary election for holding the referendum, since only those voters with a partisan preference vote in the primary.
Only three states -
Commencement lauded, vandalism deplored
In reviewing the events of the end of the school year,
“You hear so many negatives and you look at those young people who graduated. There were a lot of concerns when we first consolidated,” he said. “I was proud of everybody. I couldn’t believe how many had dual enrolled and the honors they received, I think everybody did a real good job. I appreciate it.”
Martin brought up the matter of the end-of-the-year prank, which apparently was more serious than in past year’s.
“When there are pranks and the school gets destroyed, do we have a policy for that?” she asked. “It’s not always all the seniors. It may be a lower grade involved in it. Sometimes, in the midst of it, a student will get hurt.”
Marks said the vandalism policy in place will be enforced following a complete investigation. “The health, welfare, safety issue of it is (new) this year,” she said. “There’s been pranks (in years past) but it’s not impacted the safety.”
Martin said she would like to see a sit-down meeting held prior to the end of school with both seniors as well as juniors. “Sometimes it’s not just seniors,” she said.
Director of Auxiliary Services Al London said class sponsors told students “on multiple occasions not to do it, not to have a prank. We have some leads on who is involved, and the sheriff’s office is involved in investigation.”
School Board Attorney Barbara Sanders said that “if a student breaks into school, that could be a criminal violation that would follow them past graduation.”
“We have other systems in place that indicated who was involved,” said
In a matter related to the cost of field trips,
“At the next meeting, I’d like to see a fee we're going to charge,” he said. “Try to use actual figures for paying the driver. The class pays the driver, and puts fuel in the bus.”
At the outset of the meeting, Marks and
“I encourage them to share their notebooks to faculty and staff at the school,” Marks said.
In her report, Finance Director Shannon Venable said that as of April 30, the district had a cushion of 3.02 percent, with $212,448 in restricted funds, and $325,535 in unrestricted funds, for a total of $540,983. “I’m projecting it will be in the 3.06 percent range as of June 30,” she said.