County teachers could get $400 next year in equity pay

By Julie Fann
star staff

   Director of Schools Dallas Williams told Carter County School Board members that based on information he has received from state sources the average increase in equity pay for Carter County teachers could be approximately $400.
   These figures are not definite, according to Williams, and will be negotiated with the CCEA.
   In the director's report, Williams said the last day of school will be May 25, but that date is contingent on there being no more school closings.
   For months now, the board has discussed a major project to build a new school in Stoney Creek and Valley Forge and to renovate the gymnasium at Cloudland Elementary. The project does not have a price tag yet, but architect Tony Street with Beechum, Lusk and Street will be presenting the estimate to school board members before the April County Commission meeting.
   The County Education Committee also will be setting a meeting date to discuss the project before the full court meets on April 19.
   In other business, board members unanimously approved a motion to take bids for a roof replacement of the main building at Happy Valley High School and for a section of roof at Central Elementary.
   Board member Jack Pearman told others on the board and in the audience about some improvements that have been completed at Range Elementary School. At a previous County Commission meeting, commissioner Tom "Yogi" Bowers criticized Range school and the cost of operating it.
   He argued against funding a project for two new schools because he said Range Elementary was neglected.
   Pearman said, "Range has not been neglected. It has had projects funded the same as other schools." Recent renovations include the purchasing of new kitchen equipment, and bathroom fixtures were bought by the PTA, according to Pearman.
   He argued that, if Range is closed, the cost of moving the students to other locations would increase because a new bus would be needed as well as another bus driver.
   Member Steve Chambers announced he will not be seeking another term as a school board member. He has been with the board for 14 years and wants to spend more time with his family. "I will continue to work and lobby for the schools. I want to do enough for the children," Chambers said.
   Awards were presented to Unaka High School Girls and Boys Basketball teams for making the state tournament. The Boys basketball team won its first-ever state championship this year.
   Teachers of the year were announced and congratulated by the board. Amanda Colbaugh is the Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Middle School Teacher of the Year is Nancy Cox, and Deani Smith is the High School Teacher of the Year.
   The Hunter Elementary School Enrichment Class recited the pledge of allegiance in Spanish and in English for the board, followed by Andrea Lewis, 13, from Hunter Elementary School singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth."