Dr. James Atkins

RUTLEDGE – The Grainger County Board of Education (BOE) discussed hiring retired personnel as part-time or contracted employees at its meeting Tuesday, July 21. 

Chairman Harold Frazier said he spoke with BOE Attorney Chris McCarty before the meeting. McCarty said the board does not have the authority to vote on the hiring of personnel outside of the Director of Schools. He said the Director of Schools has the authority to hire and fire employees and personnel. Frazier said he did not believe the board could take action on the line item. 

Director of Schools Dr. James Atkins said he wanted to share the list with the board regardless of whether they could vote to hire the retired personnel. Atkins listed David Stalsworth, Rose Ann Steward, Linda Hodges, Vicki Orr, Tish Cornett, and Doug McBee or Tim Seaton. He said when he hired retirees, he wanted to let the board know up front. 

The board previously voted to end 100-day contracts. However, Atkins said he informed the board it could not terminate all 100-day contracts. 

Board member Larry Turley said he was against the 100-day contracts. He said the board didn’t know the salaries of retirees hired. 

Board member Karen McNish said it was not the board’s job to set salaries, but to set the budget. 

Turley said it was time to start sticking up for everyone and not just a few. 

Atkins informed the board most of the listed retirees were not teachers. He said Stalsworth works sewer treatment at Joppa Elementary School and Washburn School. Atkins said he was currently the only person in the school system certified for the position. He said he is working to train and certify two maintenance employees for the position.

He said Steward was the secretary at Rutledge Middle School. Atkins said she was the best for the position. He said Hodges and Orr work at Central Office. Cornett works with grants. She worked with grants in 2019 and is comfortable with the material. 

Atkins said McBee is not interested in being rehired. He said he was certain McBee’s answer would be no. 

Chairman Harold Frazier said the board terminated 100-day contracts two months ago. He said it does not look good for the board to rehire more than half of the originally terminated contractors. He said he believes the jobs should be posted in an attempt to get someone to fill the positions. He said Atkins said he did not like 100-day contracts. 

Atkins said with the exception of one contract, all positions are part-time. 

In other business the board approved:

• A resolution to suspend local school board policies;

• a contract with ORTHO TN; 

• a contract with American School Management Services for a drug and alcohol testing program; and 

• an application for a CTE Perkins reserve grant.

The Grainger County BOE will meet Tuesday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m.