Friday, July 22, 2016

TOP STORY >> District to appeal transfer ruling

Leader senior staff writer

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District next week will ask U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall to require the state Board of Education to live up to its obligations and deny a school choice appeal by a Jacksonville district parent to allow her child to transfer to the Cabot School District.

The state board last week overruled on appeal the JNPSD’s decision to deny the transfer of a student, child of Nacesha Dulaney.

Previously this year, parents of three students living in the JNPSD, who had unsuccessfully sought transfers to schools in other districts, appealed to the state Board of Education. In each case, the state board upheld JNPSD’s transfer denial, meaning that if the students attend a public school, it would be one in the Jacksonville district.

“I don’t think what the state Board did was an option for them,” said Scott Richardson, JNPSD’s attorney. The final settlement agreement under which JNPSD and PCSSD are required to operate makes it pretty clear, he said. Marshall approved that agreement in 2014.

In a special JNPSD board meeting Thursday, Richardson told the board its options were to bring suit in state court or take the matter back to Marshall.

“Let’s seek clarification from Judge Marshall,” said school board president Daniel Gray. “We don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes the agreement. We need to request his opinion.”

Board member Jim Moore said the state board should be held in contempt of court.

“The question is whether or not the board had the authority to override the exemption (to the school choice act,”) Richardson said.

Previously representing the state, Richardson had a large hand in drafting that 2014 final settlement agreement.

According to that agreement, “The Public School Choice Act does not apply to school districts subject to the desegregation order or mandate of a federal court remedying the effects of past racial segregation.”

Richardson told the state board in a letter at the hearing that “the state has contractually agreed that such transfers would not occur in PCSSD or JNPSD” because those districts are party to the desegregation agreement.

With school set to start Aug. 15, Richardson said he thought Marshall would be sensitive to the time issue, so that the student involved would know where to start school.

Also at the Thursday meeting, Wood told the board that the district had allotted about $1 million for asbestos abatement and demolition of the old middle schools to make room for the new high school. The asbestos contract cost $331,000 but the rest of the demolition contract when to Moyers Excavating and Trucking Company for $169,000, for a total of about $500,000.

In other business, after approving 13 teachers at the special meeting, JNPSD has “fewer than a dozen” licensed vacancies left, Chief of Staff Phyllis Stewart estimated, out of more than 300.

Hired last night at the recommendation of Superintendent Tony Wood were: Lori Stinnett, school improvement specialist; Tracy Penland, ESL teacher; Kyndall Brown, secondary media specialist; Bethany Cannon, secondary art teacher and William “Gavin” McCollum, secondary speech, drama and stage teacher.

Susan Fincher, elementary teacher; Melissa Matus, reading specialist; Krystal Mayhone, elementary media specialist; Kory Alfred, elementary counselor; April Walls, CBI teacher; Autumn Pope, special education teacher and Kathy Sliter, elementary school teacher.

Wood recommended and the board hired the following classified employees:

Caren Campbell, Medicaid billing; Ava Coleman, school secretary; Anna Cullum, speech pathologist and Lesli Eagle, lead nurse, previously hired as school nurse.

Albert Bass, Michael Benton, Rosa Quintoros and Michael Walker, custodians; Joseph Dove, skilled maintenance; Jeremy Harmon and Robert Hampton, diesel mechanics.

Bus aides hired include Sandra Dodson, Charlene Frankson, Rose Gregory, Bernita Howell, Nicole Hyman, Jeanette Ruby, Essie Tappin, Thressia Taylor and Yulonda Terry.

Jennifer Hasek, Shanna Trujillo and Evette Webster hired as bus drivers; Anthony Alexander, para-professional; DeAndre Ellis, Moleta Hampton and Jan Gray, special ed para-professionals.

The board accepted the resignations of five people: teachers Dawn Coates, Maghan Evans, Sherrie Neice and Miranda Wilborn and secretary Karen Gentry.

Other employees hired this month included the following licensed employees: Rick Kron, Margaret Rivera, Amy Polk and Deborah Walters, elementary teachers; Elicia Betcher, Allison Brown, Darla Clark, Carrie Glover, Amber Menard and Tammy Stafford, reading specialists.

Eddie “Ryan” Roberts, gifted and talented teacher, middle school teachers, Harrison Brumley, social studies/coach; Gary Case, social studies; Jarred Fincher, in-school suspension; Jeremiah McAlister, math.

Secondary teachers hired: Kaylei Kennedy, science; Carrie Lee, English; Carmela Moore, family and consumer science; Elizabeth Schoessel, special education; Alexis Smith, English and Camille Wood, English and assistant ninth-grade volleyball coach.

Shelby Bullock and Anna Salzer were hired as for psychology specialists.

Aaron Zach Sloan, previously hired as elementary PE, was hired as assistant high school football coach.


The board hired six security officers: Rachel Bowzer, Schawanda Daugherty, Stanley Floyd, Gregory Harris, Roderick King and William Nolen, with Christopher Oldham as coordinator.

Others recommended for hire included Margaret Hampton, secretary main director and six special education para-professionals: Janice Austin, Jennifer Jones, Julie Nailling, Rickeal Nelson (multi-age), Phyllis Rayborn and Samantha Winkler, (dyslexia interventionist.)

Among the classified employees hired were: Gloria Harris, Greg Hunter, Terry Nelson, Richard Shackelford and Carroll Sipes as bus drivers.

Angela Evans was hired as a physical therapist and Robin Gardner as occupational therapist. Mossie Rhynes was hired as attendance secretary.

Five people previously hired submitted resignations: Ashley Cremer, secondary science; Debbie Bailey, cafeteria manager, Jasmin Davis, counselor; Crystal McMullen, elementary teacher; Jesse Nix, diesel mechanic.