published Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Rhea to study kindergarten expansion

By Tom Davis

Correspondent

DAYTON, Tenn. — The Rhea County Department of Education will investigate changing to an all-day kindergarten format in the coming year, Director of Schools Jerry Levengood says.

At a school board meeting Thursday, Levengood said Rhea is “one of the only school systems in Tennessee with half-day kindergarten.”

“There is some interest” in an all-day program, he said, but he wants to investigate fully before making a recommendation.

“We plan to do some surveys of prospective kindergarten parents and the county as a whole about this,” he said.

One drawback, he said, is that a number of buses serving the south end of the county are at or near their passenger limits, and adding kindergarten children could cause a problem.

In other action, board members voted to use $323,500 from a federal Education Jobs grant to give all school employees, except systemwide supervisors, a $500 bonus with their November paychecks.

Levengood said the state did not grant raises or a similar bonus this year.

The board also agreed to use $4,500 in county funds to pay the nine supervisors a $500 bonus. Levengood said he will not receive any similar pay.

Rhea County High School baseball coach Mike Kinney and softball coach Kara Stiles asked for some type of practice facility so their teams can drill and train during the winter. Stiles called such a move “the future of the program.”

But board member Bill Davault said the board has been seeking funding to resurface the high school track for more than five years. He said other sports have needs as well.

Chairman Dale Harris said the board will refer the matter to the Athletics Committee to be considered as members begin a long-term planning effort.

Contact Tom Davis at tsdavis@volstate.net.

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