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Danville School Board – LIVE! (3/3/16)

SouthsideCentral was LIVE! at Thursday’s Danville School Board meeting. This article is complete so enjoy the recap. Oh yeah, we’ve got the most photos of any local media from tonight’s meeting (because nobody else took photos!)

We’re underway! Everybody is here tonight. We start with recognitions for “Music In Our Schools”, “Youth Art Month”, the GWHS Robotics program and then Steven Gould will recognize the students who attended the General Assembly for a day of learning.

Here’s the robotics team recognition.

Steven Gould takes the podium to introduce the students who went to the General Assembly this year.

Here’s three of the six students that went to the General Assembly along with GW Government teacher Hope Jones and retired GW teacher Q Jones.

Superintendent Stan Jones is up next with the first draft of the new budget.

This is new and I like it. Stan Jones isolates specific budget items in his presentation.

Jones does his budget introduction in a refreshing way that I’ve rarely seen. He has a well-made presentation starting with mandates, then strong needs. I don’t have all of the data to drill down into but at first look, it seems like he has everything covered.

Here’s the left side of tonight’s audience. We’ve got future school board member Jeff Hubbard in the audience and city council candidates Shelia Baynes & Philip Haley here tonight.

And the right side is all school system employees. The amazing Von Wellington is in the corner and R&B reporter Trevor Metcalfe is at the media table. I have no explanation for the funky camera angle.

Steven Gould & Ed Polhamus ask some questions about how the General Assembly’s budget process is affecting the school budget. Stan Jones & Finance Director Lori Cassada answer everything that they can. This is just the first draft of the budget. The second draft is at the meeting two weeks from tonight, and the final budget is voted on at the first meeting in April.

There’s a $2.6 million gap between last year’s funding level and the first draft. Ed Polhamus comes right out and says that the superintendent’s job is to make a budget that covers what is needed, and that’s what he has done. Polhamus gets into mild tough-guy mode and says that the school system will be asking for the increased amount from Danville City Council. That will set up a showdown with council.

It’s time for the public hearing on the first draft budget, and Beverly Abbott decides to speak. She thanks the administration for the 2% raise in the budget and for looking out for priorities.

It’s Danville Education Association president Beverly Abbott!

Next, it’s my turn to speak. I ask questions on exactly what the funding gap is compared to last year’s budget and I clarify some information about the precision machining program at GW. Next, Shelia Baynes asks how many students are expected to take the precision machining course once it’s active. Ed Polhamus says 20 spots are open each year. Sheila then asks how many students will qualify for the program and Stan Jones says he doesn’t have a specific answer but that he’s sure more than 20 will. He gets a little zinger in saying that’s the reason that they’re starting the program.

It’s Sheila Baynes!

We move to the public comment segment and what the hell, I’m going to speak. I challenge the school board and the administration to find a way to put Galileo’s Blue Ribbon School award flag back into public view. It was taken down to comply with the city’s revised flag ordinance that killed the Confederate flag at the museum. I tell the board that Galileo High School is the jewel of the school system and it’s time to display their national recognition. Ed Polhamus asks administration & staff to see what can be done on that. Let’s see what comes out of this.

It’s personnel time, and here she is…

The one. The only. The more highlighter colors than a peacock… Juliet Jennings!

The board has questions about one item and they’ll discuss that person in the closed session. All of the others pass with 7-0 votes. Next, it’s time to award contracts for maintenance and Leon Ramsay explains those.

Leon Ramsay takes the podium.

And Stacey Emsminger explains the bidding results for kitchen equipment.

Finally, the board goes on record as opposed to a Special Use Permit for a proposed indoor shooting range to be built across from the Mayflower restaurant and below Riverside Health Care Center. The school system gets to put their opinion in since the corner of the Westwood school property is barely in the 300-foot radius used by the city’s planning department. Cheryl Bryant is first to say she’s opposed to it, followed by Sharon Dones. Nobody gives a specific reason why they’re opposed to it, which is a bit frustrating. Anyway, Cheryl Bryant makes the motion for the opposition and that passes 7-0 as well.

We move to the around the horn session and everybody thanks everybody for everything mentioned tonight. And Assistant City Attorney Alan Spencer has nothing to say. Again. Heh. The board takes a recess then it’s closed session time for personnel. We’re done here!

Since we told tonight’s story by using a lot of photos, there’s not much bonus content to add. But since Juliet Jennings’ photo of her surrounded by photoshopped flowers was so popular, we’ll try and top that.

We’ll surround her with photoshopped fish! One of the fish appears to be staring directly at Melissa Newton, but that’s unintentional. Kathy Osborne is wisely looking away from all the fish. Heh.

Thanks for reading the most comprehensive recap on Thursday’s Danville School Board meeting… and it’s only here at SouthsideCentral!

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