Bartlett school board proposes policies

Logo, I'm In for Bartlett
Community members can show support for Bartlett City Schools with the official “I’m In!” icon. Free car window stickers will be available at the school board meeting, 7 p.m. Feb. 27, at City Hall. The Better Bartlett Schools organization will manage future distribution of the sticker.

The Bartlett school board reviewed and amended a large batch of essential school district policies at the Feb. 20 work session, with the most intense interest focused on the transfer policy for non-resident students.

All the proposed policies will be up for a vote at the board’s next business meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Bartlett City Hall. Citizens can review the policies on the district’s website.

Board members said many parents have called with questions about which non-Bartlett residents can attend the district’s schools. Policy 6015, “Attendance of Non-Resident Students” (also known as the transfer policy) will govern that.

Board member Bryan Woodruff provided the following paraphrased version.

The proposed transfer policy would allow students outside of Bartlett to enroll in Bartlett schools where capacity exists once all school-age children that live within the Bartlett city limits are registered and assigned to their school. Transfers must be approved each year. Approval each year depends on capacity and the student’s prior attendance and academic records. Priority will be given in the following proposed order (these ONLY apply to students who live outside of the Bartlett city limits):

  1. Students whose parents are full-time employees of Bartlett City Schools.
  2. Students who are already enrolled in a Bartlett City School.
  3. Students whose sibling is already enrolled in a Bartlett City School.
  4. Students who are already enrolled in the Bartlett City District, but are changing grade levels, requiring a school change (elementary to middle, or middle to high school).
  5. Students whose parents are full-time Bartlett City employees.
  6. All other students residing outside of the City of Bartlett who request a transfer.

Other policies discussed were related to employment, payroll, expenses, technology, purchasing, communicable diseases, student records, and privacy. Many are statutory requirements.

The board is also looking to add oversight to any collection of private student data by outside research firms. This would require any such requests or contracts to be discussed and approved or denied publicly.

Feasibility Study

The board also received copies of the revised district feasibility study from Southern Educational Strategies LLC of Memphis at the Feb. 20 meeting. Supt. Stephens said the revised study is conservative because it doesn’t include the cost savings for any shared services or any projections from open enrollment. It does make certain assumptions about Bartlett residents currently attending Bolton High School: All the juniors and seniors are expected to continue at Bolton, and half of the sophomores and all of the freshmen are expected to attend Bartlett High School.

The feasibility study projects an estimated 777 employees for the Bartlett City Schools District.

The proposed school district fourth-quarter budget for April-June will incorporate information from the revised feasibility study and should be on the agenda at the Feb. 27 school board meeting, Stephens said.

Additional Business

Enrollment night: Stephens said it is essential for the district to get accurate attendance estimates. He said a Bartlett City Schools enrollment night is tentatively planned for the third week in March to obtain those numbers. Have also sent out some intent forms to find out where families intend to send their children and so Bartlett City Schools can request a release of records from Shelby County Schools.

District calendar: The proposed school calendar was developed to mesh closely with other municipal school districts for convenience and potential cost savings. The proposed 180-day school district calendar runs from August 4 to May 22.

Personnel: The board also announced recent hires for the school district:

  • Nedra Jones, district planner. She was formerly a planning specialist for Shelby County Schools.
  • Teresa Winter, chief financial officer (CFO). She was formerly the director of finance for Shelby County Schools.
  • James Aldinger, director of human resources and federal programs. He was formerly the director of federal programs for Shelby County Schools.
  • Bethany McConville, board secretary. She was formerly the board administrative assistant for Shelby County Schools.

Shared services: Jones is the first Bartlett school district employee who the six local suburban districts are expected to share. Stephens said the districts are developing an inter-local agreement to share her services as planner for the systems. (Sharing services between school districts can drive down costs for each district.) The proposed three-year inter-local agreement for shared services would cover 18 positions at a cost of about $67 (in salary and benefits) per Bartlett student. This assumes a cost of about $25,000 per position, Stephens said.

‘Paperless’ ideas: The eMeeting service gives tools for managing, distributing, and annotating board agendas and creating meeting minutes on the fly, as well as providing a search function for previous meeting minutes and agendas. It can also link to legal documents, agenda attachments, The initial fee is $2,000 with an annual maintenance fee of $1,500.

LEA draft: Supt. Stephens is also sending the Bartlett district’s first draft of a Local Educational Agency (LEA) plan to the Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner for his review. An LEA plan is a requirement for receiving federal funding under The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. Once the document meets the commissioner’s preliminary approval, it will be placed before the Bartlett City Schools’ board for review and approval.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or