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Bartlett schools get $2.138M budget boost

BCS-small-logoThe Bartlett school board expanded its budget at the Aug. 25 meeting. The amendment to the General Fund Budget accounts for an additional $2.138 million from the County Commission, based on the district’s average daily attendance (ADA).

Stephens said he talked with each director on budget items that had been deleted previously, and he recommended using $675,800 of the funds for the following purposes: School support organizations, study for 1:1 Initiative, communications volunteers, a district hourly wage position, software subscriptions, new teacher orientation, a floater nurse to fill in as needed, an additional special education nurse at the high school, school-level professional development for teachers and administrators, 120-day position for the Read to Be Ready particular program, more security cameras, a Student Services position, instructional supplies, two more teachers, A 120-day specialist to work with special ed, and more funding per the Comptroller’s ruling to go back into school funds for teacher and faculty morale. That leaves a remaining $1.426 million.

“What we’ve tried to do is be very thoughtful,” Stephens said. “… We need to look at that and see how we can do this strategically and impact our schools and our district the most and in the most efficient way.”

The district is also investing in its future administrators. Because Bartlett City Schools district is interested in developing new leaders from within, board members approved a contract for this school year with the University of Memphis for the Memphis Leadership Scholars Program.

Three candidates currently employed in the district have been chosen through a stringent application process to further their education. Each recipient has a five-year obligation at the end of the program and must invest about $5,000 of their own funds.

At the meeting, the board also reported on progress for this school year and passed multiple policies.

Superintendent David Stephens said as of Aug. 19 the district was at 99.6 percent of projections with an enrollment of 8,772 students. Some students are still trickling in as well.

He reported success with the rollout of the district’s 1:1 Initiative to loan each student in grades 6-12 a MacBook Air laptop for the school year. Last year, students in grades 6-9 received the laptops.

Stephens also mentioned a resource that Tennessee teachers have developed, called the Tennessee Digital Resources Library, complete with text and videos aligned with school standards. It covers 14 high school-level courses in world history and geography, U.S. history, English I-IV, government, economics, Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, chemistry and physical science. See more online at tndigitalresourcelibrary.com.

At the start of the meeting, the board recognized Bartlett students who performed at the district’s system-wide address. They included soloist Cara Cooper, seventh-grader at Bon Lin Middle; and the following Jeopardy performers: Kerrington Land, first-grader at Rivercrest Elementary; Jordyn Zehr, second-grader at Bartlett Elementary; Anora Moyer, second-grader at Bon Lin Elementary; and Leighton Keegan, fourth-grader at Oak Elementary.

In other business, the board approved:

  • Policies on second reading about course recovery, religious-themed course content, enrollment beyond compulsory attendance age, and student suicide prevention.
  • The 17 advanced placement courses offered at Bartlett High.
  • The certificate stating that the district has complied with the state requirement for students to receive all required textbooks.
  • Joining the Tennessee Municipal League’s risk management pool, which lets the school district have its own general liability policy rather than remaining under the city’s policy. It saves funds for the district and doesn’t have a negative impact on the city, Stephens said.
  • This school year’s list of 10 officially recognized school support organizations (including PTAs and sports support groups) that have provided all required documentation. Stephens said another five applicants have completed almost all of the required documents, and another 15 are in the works.
  • Extending the current lease of Bartlett United Methodist Church’s soccer field, which ends at the end of this month, through December while the district and church continue the land purchase negotiations.
  • Authorizing the district to begin property acquisition for a school district office.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to bartlett.editor@journalinc.com.

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