Obion Co. Schools launch Middle School baseball

by Benita Fuzzell

Jared Poore was elected Chair Pro-Tem of the Obion County School board during regular board session at Lake Road school Monday night, and presided over the meeting in the absence of chair Fritz Fussell and vice-chair Keisha Hooper.

Moore and board members Tim Britt, Barry Adams and Kyle Baggett were updated on the proposed plan to initiate a middle school boys’ baseball program to include four feeder schools, Ridgemont, Hillcrest, Black Oak and Lake Road, to begin in the Spring of 2019.

Director of Schools Dr. Leah Watkins commended Lance Gray, and Barry Kendall for their assistance in researching the needs of such a program as well as canvassing the interest among students, to gage a participation number, with 32 boys, in seventh and eighth grade reportedly exhibiting an interest in the program.

They also reported to the board that the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association, TMSAA, will now allow middle school students to participate in the school affiliated baseball team, while also simultaneously participating in travel ball, with school affiliated baseball played and practiced during the week, and travel ball allowed during the weekends.

Further discussion will be held in regard to a decision as to incorporating the TMSAA program of play, or an “independently” operated program.

With the anticipation of fielding a boys’ middle school baseball team for the 2019 season, proposed budget figures were presented for the board’s review, with expenses in 2019 projected at $7,410 and revenues at $10,400.

The expenses for the first year, for the team comprised of four feeder schools, sixth, seventh and eighth graders, will include coaching supplements, head coach at $1,200 and assistant coach, $1,000; transportation at $320; umpire fees at $1,200, bats, $600, catchers equipment, $400, three dozen baseballs and cheaper practice balls, $300; uniforms, $2,000, helmets, $140; and unanticipated expenses, $250.

Projected revenues would include a board allocation of $6,500, booster club fundraising, donations, $3,000 and game revenue with $5 admission tickets, $900.

In the personnel report, resignations were accepted for Judy Liebenow, bus driver, Greg Gray, custodian, Amanda Brooks, Special Education teacher, Jennifer Tivis, food service and Karen Doster, bus driver.

Retirements were announced for Deborah Batchelor, Patricia K. May, both teachers and Julie Simpson, speech teacher.

New hires included Patricia Jonas, food service, Steve Jonas, custodian, Ashley Graham, bus driver, Curtis, Mathis, bus driver, Brittany Laster, custodian, Felisha Robbins, Jamie Johnson and Wendy Ping, educational assistants and Jerry Preston Martin, special education teacher.

Leaves of absence were approved for Joy Moore, custodian, Gena Frields, food service, Betty Blakely, bus driver, Ashleigh Wilds, teacher, Victoria (Tori) Jones, teacher, LaShauna Pollock, food service, Heather Kendall, guidance counselor and Tina L. Hill, band/music teacher.

Approved substitute teacher recommendations for October and November were Ashton Feidhaus, Ashley Graham, Karen Fields, Bailey Daniel, Ragan Liles, Paige Hicks, Emily Ross, Rachelle Reid, recommended by Nancy Hamilton and Dale Hollowell and Sydney Robbins, recommended by Nancy Hamilton and Travis Johnson.

Teachers recommended for tenure by Director of Schools Leah Watkins, as well as principals and instructional supervisors and given board approval were Kayce Jones, Black Oak; Amanda Dawkins, Tina Forbes and Chanda Peal, Hillcrest; Michelle Allen, Emily Berner and Julie Cunningham, Lake Road; Jonathan Byrd, Obion County Central; Vonda Cary, Ridgemont; Melashia Holt, Deanna Porter and Amanda Wilder, South Fulton Elementary; and Melanie Curlin and Kimberly Jackson, South Fulton Middle/High School.

The bid from Best One Tire, for $349.37 per tire, was recommended as the successful bid, the lowest to meet all specifications, for Bridgestone R268 or Michelin XZE2. Hub City Tire’s bid came in at $362.37 per tire.

Bids were solicited for a video camera system upgrade, with two companies submitting bids, Central Technologies and EduTech.

Individual school bids from Central Technologies, the recommended bidder, from Dr. Watkins, included $18,785.70 for Obion County Central High School; no bid for South Fulton High School; South Fulton Elementary, $19,513; Lake Road, $18,908.50; Black Oak, $19,695; and combo, $76,902.20.

Black Oak Elementary submitted a request to the board to declare surplus the cheerleading uniforms no longer in use, and also requested permission to sell the uniforms for the funds to offset the cost of future purchases. The board approved the request.

South Fulton High School Athletic Director Keith Frazier made a request to the board to sell a rebounder machine no longer in use, to the highest bidder, via sealed bid. He indicated in a letter to the board, bids would be obtained through email correspondence as well as advertising in the local paper. The request was approved. Dr. Watkins informed the board other schools in the system had asked if they had an interest in the rebounder, with no interest shown.

An overnight trip was approved for the Obion County Central High School boys basketball team for a tournament Dec. 26-30 at Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.

An amendment to board policy 4.602 was heard on first reading, regarding an update to reflect the addition of physical science to the science options for Challenge Graduates.

An amendment to board policy 4.701, Maintaining Test and Data Security, as recommended by the Tennessee School Board Association, was approved, noting the addition of any employee found to have not followed security guidelines shall be placed on immediate suspension and such actions shall be grounds for dismissal. Such actions shall be ground for revocation of state licenses. Embargoed data may be shared with personnel as determined by the Director of Schools as set forth in procedure. Personnel shall not share embargoed data with external parties, the amendment concludes.