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Board takes action on personnel; names not yet released

There was another large crowd for Thursday night’s special called meeting by the Butler County Board of Education and the majority were particularly interested in Item 6 on the agenda: the personnel report. Many present said they were anxious to find out if, in the face of proration and further budget cuts, they still had a job.

While the board (minus board president Billy Jones, who is working out of town) voted to approve “items 1-11,” they could not release the names of those tied to those items, according to Interim Superintendent Joseph Dean.

“We have to make sure we notify all these individuals before we release the names. Once we do that, the names will be made public,” Dean said.

Rob Mello, a Greenville citizen whose two daughters attend Greenville Elementary School and Greenville Middle School, asked to address the board during the meeting.

“We know there are teachers who are not tenured who are on the chopping block,” Mello said. “But there are teachers we cannot afford to lose and some don’t have tenure. I ask that the board will consider this when looking at cuts.”

Mello named Donna Ash as a “great teacher” but was misunderstood by the board members, who thought he was maligning her character and asked he refrain from making negative comments about personnel in a public forum.

“I wasn’t saying anything bad about her. I was giving her props,” Mello said.

Board VP Linda Hamilton said she appreciated Mello’s interest and concern, but personnel matters involved union rules “and we have to adhere to these and respect them.”

“Believe me, we are going to try to keep every good teacher, but proration comes out of Montgomery. If it comes down to it, in order to keep our system in the black, we may have to make the cuts,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton also asked anyone who wished to speak before the board to abide by policy and let the board know at the outset and they would be allowed five minutes to voice their concerns.

The board approved the following:

*Greenville High School Advanced Placement Application. Students planning to take AP courses will have to fill out the application beforehand. “This will fully describe the program, lay out expectations for the students and their parents, and should reduce the number of requests to withdraw from these classes,” said Dean.

*Setting June 3 as a Make-Up Day for McKenzie School.

*Permission for the Child Nutrition Program to serve as vendor for City of Greenville’s Summer Feeding Program.

*Rescheduling of the April 22 board meeting to April 29. “The release of the budget data should take place on April 23, so moving the meeting to the following week should allow an ample amount of time to study this and make further decisions regarding personnel,” Dean said.

No mention was made of the status of contract negotiations with Darren Douthitt concerning the superintendency.