KCS Administration Refuses to Follow Board Vote

When a Superintendent presents an opening plan to a school board for a vote of adoption, one would expect the Superintendent and his administrative staff to also support that plan. This has not been the case in Knox County Schools. Not only has the plan been changed (without a Board vote) multiple times, but members of the KCS administration have responded to parent concerns with information that is completely contrary to the standing vote – even after the law department has publicly clarified that this vote is still valid.

This is very, very concerning.

As the person whose responsibility it is to ensure that my community has access to accurate and transparent information, I will not hide these failures.

The public has a right to know that the Knox County Schools’ administration is clearly refusing to follow the Board’s intent – and I have pointed this out on multiple occasions, beginning in May.

In Tennessee, a board of education only speaks through its votes. No individual board member can tell a superintendent what to do. It would be unethical for a board member to push a superintendent to do something contrary to a vote of the board and likewise, unethical for a superintendent to follow any direction from an individual school board member. The ONLY direction that can be given is through a passing vote of the board.

In Knox County, a vote requires at least 5 votes to pass – and the Board is to uphold that vote.

On April 14th, the Knox County Board of Education voted as follows:

Ms. Kristy made a motion to approve the Superintendent’s recommended protocols for the 2021-2022 school year. Ms. Babb seconded the motion.

Ms. Babb made a substitute motion to approve the Superintendent’s plan with the identification of young children as pre-K and kindergarten students and clarifying language on the fourth bullet point on page 2 regarding a negative COVID test on day 6 or 7 allowing an end to any quarantine on day 8. Ms. Satterfield seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ms. Satterfield – Yes
Ms. Owen – Yes
Mr. Watson – Yes
Ms. Babb – Yes
Ms. Horn – No
Ms. Henderson – No
Ms. Bounds – No
Mr. McMillan – No
Ms. Kristy – Yes

Vote:  5-4 Passed

 

The PDF of the plan that was presented to the Board in that April 14th meeting is below. (Note: The version presented on April 9 and the version presented on April 14 have different language, but are essentially the same regarding following guidelines, as the TN Department of Health has consistently stated that CDC recommendations should be followed.)

6685_UPDATED_2021_22_School_Year_Recommendations_4.9.2021

 

There have been other discussions and other motions regarding COVID protocols since this vote. However, none of those have any bearing on the APRIL 14th vote.

There has been no vote that would change anything from the April 14th vote to adopt the plan that included following State Department of Health recommendations (aka: CDC recommendations).

 

In other words, according to the April 14th vote of the Knox County Board of Education, all staff and students in Knox County Schools, should be following the recommendations of the Tennessee Department of Health, which are the recommendations of the CDC.

Anything less should be seriously scrutinized, as it would be in direct conflict with the directive of the Board.

If anyone in Knox County Schools tells you that the Board of Education voted against following COVID-19 safety protocols, please forward that message to me immediately. This kind of serious misinformation is not acceptable and I will address these complaints swiftly.

 

Minutes from the April 14th meeting can be found here:

APRIL 14, 2021 Minutes of the Knox County Board of Education

 

Contact information for members of the Board of Education can be found below. Please keep in mind that we are elected in a representative election, but that we are each required to serve ALL students in Knox County Schools.

Knox County Board of Education Members

 

Contact information for the Knox County Schools Executive Team is here:

Knox County Schools Administration

 

 

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