Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

School Board discusses new high school

The Lewis County Board of Education met in regular session on Thursday, February 16, 2023, at 6:08 p.m. at the Lewis County Board of Education board meeting room located at 206 South Court Street, Hohenwald. With the exception of Phyllis Townsend, all board members present were Chair Lindsey Himes, Glenda Atkinson, Derek Cotham, Cassie Couch, Vice-Chair Paula Dyer, Jackie Holt, Cody Mitchell, and Sallie Pollock.

The invocation was given by Mr. Mitchell. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mrs. Dyer.


Upon motion by Ms. Couch and seconded by Mrs. Pollock, the consent agenda was unanimously approved.

• Previous minutes from the January 10, 2023, board meeting.

• Adopted agenda.


Directors Report

• Dr. McAbee informed board members that he knew that the building of the new high school was on everyone’s mind. He stated that he met with Mayor Keltner today and he shared some printouts with him that he had made whenever he was working on the school project on the county side of the project. He further stated that he wanted to thank the board members that were able to attend the City of Hohenwald Council meeting and securing the funding from the sales tax referendum. He stated that this was huge in the fact that that money that the board was working with about a year ago was around $275 per square foot to build the school. He stated that the board members knew that it would not be possible to build the school now for that price. He further stated that the payment that the board had budgeted would not have been enough. Dr. McAbee stated that he wanted to personally thank the City of Hohenwald and the Lewis County Government for their part in passing their resolutions. He stated that with this funding, the new high school was going to happen.

Director of Schools Dr. Mc-Abee, asked the board members if it would be possible to have a special called meeting on Tuesday, February 21, 2022 to discuss moving forward in hiring a construction manager for the high school project. He stated that there have been two construction advisors, Lashlee Rich and Clardy Construction, to give presentations on the way to proceed building the high school. He stated that the board really does need to move forward and get the new high school built. After discussion amongst the board members, they decided to have the special called meeting on February 21, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in the board meeting room.

• Employed Grace Kelly Parker as Lewis County Middle School Computer Science and Middle School assistant softball coach effective January 10, 2023.

• Accepted the resignation of Aren Ragsdale, Behavior Specialist, effective January 27, 2023.

• Approved non-FMLA leave for Nicole Renee Dalton, LCES teacher, effective February 6, 2023 through March 17, 2023.

Mrs. Pollock asked if there has been anyone to replace Aren Ragsdale’s position yet. Dr. McAbee stated that the position has been posted but nobody has been hired yet.

Mrs. Atkinson asked if anyone has been hired for the high school football coach. Dr. McAbee stated that the position has been posted. He stated that the people who will be sitting in on the interviews will be Jonathan Owen, Dr. Barden and himself. Dr. McAbee stated that he would be taking the biggest lead on the hiring of the coach. He stated that the interviews will be taking place on February 24th. He stated that there have been two local people to apply and 23 out of county to apply for the position.

Mrs. Atkinson asked about the intermediate school building. Dr. McAbee stated that Tony Cotham and Ronnie Staggs have been over checking on the leaks in the roofs. He stated that Porter Roofing had been back to fix the leaks. He stated that they wanted to wait and see if the roof leaks after the rain that was projected for today.


-There was no new business to discuss.


Upon motion by Mrs. Pollock and seconded by Ms. Couch, item a) under new business was approved unanimously.

a) Approve Volunteer coaches

• Kelby Feichtinger- High School Softball

• Shelby Tiller Hinson- High School Softball

• Jeremy Carroll- Middle School Softball

Upon motion by Mrs. Atkinson and seconded by Mrs. Dyer, item b) under new business was approved unanimously. b) Approve submission of ESSER 3.0 Public Plan Addendum

Upon motion by Mr. Mitchell and seconded by Mrs. Pollock, item c) under new business was approved unanimously.

c) Approve amendment of high school handbook to allow early graduates to participate in graduation ceremony with administrative approval.

Upon motion by Mrs. Pollock and seconded by Mrs. Dyer item d) under new business was approved unanimously.

d) Approve Middle School and High School Honor Band students to attend band trip to Austin Peay University on February 23, 2023 through February 25, 2023.

Upon motion by Mrs. Atkinson and seconded by Mr. Mitchell, item e) under new business was approved unanimously.

e) Approve American Fidelity to provide insurance and benefits to Lewis County Schools employees.

Prior to approval of item f) under new business Ms. Couch asked if there could be a place to add to the 2023-2024 school calendar indicating progress reports and report card dates. Mrs. Dyer recommended typing something at the end of the calendar dates that are highlighted. Dr. McAbee explained that Ms. McKissack was in charge of getting a committee of administrators, teachers from each school and a board member to come up with the 2023-2024 calendar. He stated that he, Angie Leigh and Vickie Tiller discussed the old calendar and wanted to make changes without using so many different colors and symbols on the calendar. He stated that James Laubach and Angie Leigh worked together and came up with the calendar that is being presented at the meeting. He wanted to keep this as the school calendar but would welcome the report card dates and progress report dates be added once this information is available. Upon motion by Ms. Couch and seconded by Mr. Cotham item f) under new business was approved unanimously.

f) Approve 2023-2024 School calendar

Prior to the approval of item g) under new business, Chair Himes explained to everyone that the sick policy has been in discussion for several months. She stated that it was discussed in length at the school board retreat that was held in Franklin, Tennessee on January 28, 2023.

Mrs. Pollock made a motion and was seconded by Mr. Cotham to approve item g) under new business. Chair Himes asked if there was any further discussion before approval. Mrs. Dyer stated that she would like to see the sick leave policy be amended and be retroactive to August 1, 2022. She stated that there are several support staff members that are in the negative at this time and that it would help them out tremendously. Mrs. Atkinson stated that since there was already a motion by Mrs. Pollock and seconded by Mr. Cotham that they would need to withdraw their motions. Mrs. Pollock and Mr. Cotham withdrew their motions. Chair Himes asked for another motion and second for the amended sick leave policy. Upon motion by Mrs. Atkinson and seconded by Mrs. Pollock, item g) under new business was approved unanimously.

g) Board Policy-5.302- Sick leave


The time allowed for sick leave for professional personnel shall be earn one (1) day of sick leave for each month employed during the school year, and these days shall accumulate for an unlimited number of days.1 New teachers are “loaned” five (5) days upon initial employment. Upon termination, excess sick leave days used will be deducted from teacher’s final paycheck.

Sick leave shall be defined as: illness of a teacher from natural causes or accident, quarantine, or illness or death of a member of the immediate family of a teacher, including the teacher’s wife or husband, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law.2

A signed statement listing the cause of absence shall be provided by the employee on forms furnished by the Director of Schools and shall promptly be given to the immediate supervisor in support of all claims for sick leave pay. A falsified statement shall be grounds for dismissal.

Documentation from a physician may be required in support of any claim for sick leave pay. A certificate from the physician on forms furnished by the Board may be required with each absence of four (4) or more consecutive days in support of any claim for sick leave pay 1

The principal shall notify the Director of Schools’ office at once if an employee is sick beyond the limit of his/her sick leave accumulation. The substitute teacher, beyond this point, must have a certificate or permit and must be paid according to the state salary scale.

Permanent, cumulative sick leave records for each active professional employee shall be kept in the Director of Schools’ office.

A teacher, upon employment, may transfer his/her accumulated sick leave from another Tennessee school district, provided that the Director of Schools of the district in which the accumulated leave was held provides notarized verification.1

Teachers shall be allowed to use sick leave in the amount they accumulate in the same school year.

Sick leave for maternity purposes may be taken during the period of physical disability only. A teacher may use up to thirty (30) days of accumulated sick leaved for the adoption of a child. If both adoptive parents are teachers only one parent may request leave. Written verification from the adoption agency or other entity handling the adoption shall be required before the leave is granted.1


Sick leave definition shall be the same for support personnel as for certificated employees.

Non-certificated twelve (12) month employees, school secretaries and school nurse shall be granted one (1) sick leave with pay for each complete month of employment. Paraprofessionals shall be granted five (5) sick leave days per year. Cafeteria workers, bus drivers and custodians shall be granted (3) sick leave days per year. The time allowed (days earned ) for sick leave shall be one (1) day for each month an employee is employed.

At the termination of the employment of any employee, all unused sick leave accumulated by the employee shall be forfeited.

The immediate supervisor may require a physician’s certificate documentation from a physician stating the reason for absence in excess of four (4) consecutive days.

Unused accumulated sick leave at the date of retirement will be converted to creditable service in the retirement systems.

This policy will be retroactive to August 1, 2022.


Mrs. Atkinson stated that she wanted to publicly thank Vicki Tiller and Angie Leigh for making up the notebooks on school finance information for each board member. She also wanted to thank all the schools for recognizing the board members this year during school board appreciation week.

Dr. McAbee handed out to each board member the estimates, now that the sales tax referendum has been approved by both city and county governments, of the projected funding that will come from the sales tax approvals and projected payments.

Mr. Mitchell stated that he wanted to remind everyone that the new TISA rules went into effect yesterday and that it was going to be a lot of things to learn. Dr. McAbee stated that the board had received what the projection of 2022 and that we should receive around $680,000 more than with BEP. Last week they sent their new projections and it was way off. We were still in the positive but only by about $200, 000. He stated that Trina Weaks worked for about two days looking at CTE and found a lot of funding that had been missed by the department. Mr. Trull and Cathy Robertson at the high school worked on different number and that got out numbers back up. So now the proposed numbers should be around the $700,000 amount. Dr. McAbee stated the state would run another proposal after the numbers that was submitted by us and we will see what their projection is then.

Ms. Couch wanted to thank all of our school counselors and SRO officers in our school system.

Mrs. Dyer reminded everyone to keep Chuck Stanley’s family in their prayers in the passing of his daughter Hannah Anthon.

Mrs. Dyer also asked everyone to keep the families of the two Tennessee National Guard helicopter pilots that was killed.

Trina Weaks invited the board members to the CTE luncheon next Wednesday, February 22, 2023 which will be held at the TCAT center and will begin at 12:00 noon.

Chair Himes announced that the next regular scheduled meeting will be March 14, 2023 at the board room and will begin at 6:00 p.m. There will be no workshop prior to the meeting. Mrs. Leigh reminded Chair Himes that the Leadership Lewis team will be at the March 14, 2023 meeting and the board will be having dinner with them immediately following the meeting in the middle school cafeteria. She reminded everyone of the special called meeting on February 21, 2023 at 6:00 in the board room.


Upon motion by Mrs. Atkinson and seconded by Mr. Mitchell the meeting was adjourned at 6:34 p.m.


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