published Monday, February 13th, 2012

Rhea County schools to help at-risk third-graders

Tom Davis/Correspondent
  • photo
    Rhea County school board member Bimbo McCawley
    Photo by Cliff Hightower

DAYTON, Tenn. — Rhea County schools will use Race to the Top funds to provide after-school and summer remedial instruction for pupils in danger of not passing from third to fourth grades, board of education members decided.

Director of Schools Jerry Levengood asked that the board approve the $23,000 program that will target 91 at-risk pupils to prepare them for TCAP testing this spring. Eight teachers and 11 college students will begin working with the children this week after school until the state tests are administered in April. He said children who do not achieve benchmarks will not be promoted to fourth grade without intervention this summer.

The summer portion of the program will involve children attending remediation sessions for a month at either Rhea Central Elementary or Spring City Elementary.

In other matters, board members adopted a resolution objecting to a proposal that Levengood said has been floated by county commissioners to charge county departments a garbage pick-up fee to shore up the county’s solid waste fund. Levengood said the plan, if approved, would cost the department about $51,000 per year.

Board member Dale Harris objected to the plan.

“The board presented a budget that is efficient and cost-effective, and if we are charged this, it needs to be covered” in the commission’s budgeting process, he said. “We have done due diligence to keep costs under control. If they didn’t agree with our budget, why did they approve it?”

And board member Bimbo McCawley pointed out that such a move, if approved, would be “a right-pocket, left-pocket move. What’s behind this?”

Board members also agreed to tell state legislators they object to Senate Bill 2210, which would remove individual class size limits and change the state funding formula for local schools.

“My concern is that it has been put out there too quickly,” Levengood said of the bill. “There are a lot of extenuating circumstances that have not been thought out carefully.”

Board members are to meet with Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, and Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, when they attend the annual “Day on the Hill” for the state’s school boards Feb. 21.

Tom Davis is based in Dayton. Contact him at tsdavis@volstate.net.

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