Local News Articles

Board Accepts Base Bid on DeKalb West Project, Opts to Re-Bid Roof and Make Deducts to Save Money

July 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb West School

The DeKalb County Board of Education voted 4-0 Thursday night to award the base bid on the DeKalb West School addition to J. Cumby Construction of Cookeville, the lowest bidder on the project.

The base bid amount is $2,179,000.

But since the overall project costs of more than $4.8 million dollars is over available funding by approximately 25%, the board is exercising its option to make deducts and to re-bid a new roof on the existing West School building to bring down the costs. "We have checked and we can make deducts from the contract of the lowest bidder," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. " We are doing a pre-bid inspection next Tuesday, July 16 on the re-roof project because everything came in above what we had expected our estimates to be. We will bid that again the following Tuesday, July 23. Everybody is in agreement that we can make those deductions. If two Tuesdays from now we get a lower bid than what was in the contract, we will take that lowest bid. If we have a lower bid on the bid date then we will go with that bid. If the lowest bid is in the contract, we'll go with that bid," he said.

According to Director Willoughby, deducts can also be made on equipment for the kitchen/cafeteria renovation to save money. " We have deducted on the cafeteria approximately $83,000. We are taking our old equipment and putting in the new kitchen. That is also equipment put in there such as milk coolers. We don't have to purchase those. The company we purchase the milk from will supply the milk coolers. That's a savings. We have also met with other kitchen suppliers this week. We have requested if we buy things from certain vendors, we think we can save at least $20,000 more," said Willoughby.

The school board's action on accepting bids is subject to approval of the county commission.

The board of education learned last month that the DeKalb West School building project is more expensive than the architect originally anticipated.

Jason Morris of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects, Inc. of Mount Juliet, informed the school board that the total costs come to more than $4.8 million dollars. The county commission, last summer approved a $3.4 million note to cover this project and other school roofing work.

J. Cumby Construction of Cookeville had the overall lowest bid of the three bids submitted at $3,534,000.

The base bid was $2,179,000 to construct the new addition and $75,341 to purchase the roofing materials; $509,000 (alternate 1) to re-roof the existing building and $192,872 to purchase the roofing materials; and $846,000 (alternate 2) for the kitchen/cafeteria renovation and $12,866 to buy the roofing materials. The project also included a cost of $986,924 for energy efficient renovations by Johnson Controls.

The DeKalb County School System last year received approval from TEMA and FEMA for grant funds of more than $1.5 million to build eight tornado safe rooms at DeKalb West School. The spending plan calls for local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building the rooms. The proposed addition will be constructed in the front of the school, including the eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, and guidance and teacher work area. The county is paying for additions not covered by the grant.

The county commission, last summer approved funding for the DeKalb West School project in the form of the note to cover the local grant match for the safe rooms along with an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation at DeKalb West School as well as roofing projects at DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Smithville Elementary School.

Board of Education Budgets Funds for Two New SROs

July 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Board and Director of Schools

The Board of Education has taken up the budget committee on its offer to partner with the county in making sure School Resource Officers are in every DeKalb County School.

During Thursday night's meeting, the Board voted 4-0 to include in its proposed budget for 2013-14, a total of $73,839 to fund salaries and benefits of two new SROs. Board members Johnny Lattimore, Charles Robinson, Billy Miller, and Doug Stephens all voted for it. Board members Kenny Rhody, John David Foutch and W.J. (Dub) Evins, III were unable to attend the meeting.

Members of the county commission's budget committee voted 4 to 1 Tuesday night to include funding for two new SROs in the proposed county general budget, but only if the school board would vote to fund two (salaries and benefits) in its budget.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby had expressed to the budget committee Tuesday night that he didn't think the school board would go along with funding SROs given the fact that schools were being asked to cut another $147,000 from the proposed school budget to meet last year's funding levels. But during Thursday night's school board meeting, Willoughby said partnering with the county appears to be the only way schools were going to get more SROs. "The county commission (budget committee) stated that if we would fund two then they would fund two. Basically it was my interpretation that if we didn't fund two then there would not be two (any new SROs) funded," said Willoughby. We feel that it is very important to help provide safety for all people involved in our school system. Its either us fund two or not have any Resource Officers except for the one the Sheriff already provides out of his current budget," said Willoughby.

During Tuesday night's county budget meeting, committee member Larry Summers made a motion that the county general fund two new SRO's (salaries and benefits) if the school board does the same with the county general to pick up all the expense of training and equipping the new officers with patrol cars, guns, etc. The vote was 4-1. Committee members Wayne Cantrell, Marshall Ferrell, and Jerry Scott joined Summers in voting for the motion. Jack Barton voted against it, since he wanted the county general budget to fund all four new SROs.

County Mayor Mike Foster then polled the twelve county commissioners present at the budget committee meeting to see how they felt about funding two SROs if the school board were to fund two SROs. All but three commissioners said they favored it. However when polled about the county general funding all four SROs, a majority of the commissioners said no.

The county budget committee will meet tonight (Friday) at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse to act on the school board's proposed budget.

School Board Makes More Budget Cuts, Three Proposed New Supplement Positions Eliminated

July 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County Board of Education revisited its proposed budget for the 2013-14 year Thursday night, making more than the $147,000 in cuts requested by the county budget committee.

Removed from the proposed spending plan are two new assistant soccer coaches, one for the girls and one for the boys program at DCHS and a proposed new cross country coaching supplement. Total savings from those cuts combined comes to $8,355. A proposed new teaching position in the gifted program will be cut to part time. A previously federally funded special education teaching position, to be funded from the general purpose (local school budget) will be cut to part time.

Altogether, cuts were made in varying amounts from a total of thirty six line items in the proposed budget for a total of $148,355, more than meeting the request of the county budget committee. "We took $500 here and $1,000 there in different places, in several different categories, just a little here and a little there to come up with the amount of cuts that was requested," said Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

While school officials had anticipated having to use up to $1.2 million of school reserves to balance the 2012-13 budget, the school system actually ended up in the black for the year. "We were fortunate this year to end without using any of our reserves. This budget does not request a tax increase to the county. This budget is again tight and we hope we can come out ahead again next year without using any reserves," said Willoughby.

The proposed school budget does not include a property tax increase. The rate for schools would remain at 55 cents per $100 of assessed value. However, the budget proposes to use $1,237,960 of school BEP reserves and fund balance if needed to balance the budget by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Total school revenues come to $19,314,324 including $14,004,000 in State Basic Education Program funds and $2,362,429 in current property tax funds. Total school expenditures are $20,478,445.

In order to meet requirements of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, the budget includes funds to offer single coverage health insurance to all full time classified employees (support staff) who want it, beginning January 1, 2014. Employees who take the school system up on its offer will have to pay ninety dollars per month. The school system will cover the rest. No additional insurance benefit will be offered to certified personnel.

The proposed budget calls for certified employees to receive a one time bonus instead of a 1.5% pay raise. Director Willoughby said in a previous meeting that approximately $40,000 in state funds will pay for the bonuses which comes to about $160 per employee.

The budget includes funding for two new teacher positions at DeKalb Middle School

One new P.E. teacher at Northside Elementary School

One new extra teacher position (instead of two) which may or may not be needed depending upon enrollment at the elementary school level: (position not to be filled if not needed)

One full time and one part time federal teacher positions moving to general purpose schools (local budget)

Under the Gifted Education Program: One new gifted part time position:

Under Special Education Program: A half time psychologist

Other new positions included in the budget:

Assistant band director (working primarily at DeKalb West School) (supplement)

Two new Middle School Soccer Coaches (supplement)

One baseball coach at DeKalb West School (supplement)

The budget also includes a $4,150 pay raise for the Transportation Supervisor

The county budget committee will meet tonight (Friday) at 6:00 p.m. at the courthouse to act on the proposed school budget.

School Lunch Prices to Increase Again

July 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Stephanie Dyer (Older Photo)

If you pay for your children's school lunches, you'll have to ante up a little more this coming school year.

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to increase the price of school lunches five cents, going from $1.45 to $1.50 for pre-kindergarten students to fifth graders and from $1.70 to $1.75 for sixth through twelfth graders. Breakfast prices will remain the same at $1.00 for all students. Prices for adults at schools will remain at $2.50

This is the third year in a row the school board has voted to hike school lunch prices.

Stephanie Dyer, School Nutrition Supervisor, has said in previous meetings that prices have to increase until they get to $2.51 under USDA regulations, or the school system risks losing its increase in food reimbursement rates. "Each year we have gone up ten cents. However this year with our funds we're able to just go up five cents and still be in good shape, said Dyer during Thursday night's meeting. "Hopefully we'll stay like this for a couple of years. That's what we're hoping for. They are becoming a little bit more lenient on that," she said.

DeKalb County’s Curtis honored by TTU College of Business

July 11, 2013
Casey Curtis

Casey Curtis, of Smithville, received the Gary Pickett memorial scholarship from Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business.

Curtis is a senior studying business management and a graduate of DeKalb County High School. He was one of more than 100 students to receive a scholarship from the College of Business this spring. The college distributed nearly $143,000 this spring to its top students.

“We are proud of this outstanding group of students,” said James Jordan-Wagner, dean of TTU’s College of Business. “We are also extremely pleased with the support we receive from businesses and alumni in supplying the private funds for scholarships. In these trying times, they have responded by increasing the amount that we could award this year.”

“These awards recognize our students’ achievements and help us to attract quality students to TTU.”

Tiger Pride Camp Teaching Youngsters Basics of Football

July 11, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tiger Pride Camp Teaching Youngsters Basics of Football

Some one hundred youngsters ages five to twelve have been learning more about football during the first ever Tiger Pride Football Camp this week at DeKalb County High School

USA certified football coaches and other volunteers have spent the week teaching kids the basics of the game. "We've been wanting to put one of these together for quite a few years and with John (Kilgore's) help this year and the organization we've got one going and we've had a hundred kids out here each and every day and it's just a great thing to be able to instill that Tiger pride and a little football knowledge in these young guys," said DCHS Football Coach Steve Trapp.

"We've got a lot of our high school guys, a lot of guys who graduated last year and in years past who have come out to help us. They are actually running the drills for us. The Junior Pro coaches are here. Its helping all levels of football here in DeKalb County," said Coach Trapp.

"Football has got popular in the last four or five years," said John Kilgore, who helped organize the camp. "Coach Steve (Trapp) has turned the program around at DCHS and its got more kids interested," he said.

On Thursday, the last day of camp, a scrimmage game will be played for each age group.

Local Church Hosts Work Camp to Make Minor Home Repairs for Those in Need

July 10, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Work Camp Volunteers Sealing Driveway of Home on Holmes Creek Road
Smithville Church of Christ Work Camp Volunteers
Rob Willingham and Mike Lewis among those Repairing Deck of home on Kendra Drive
More Work Camp Volunteers
Gena Cripps painting underhang of carport at home on Holmes Creek Road

Members of the Smithville Church of Christ are lending a hand to neighbors in need this week.

Through the church sponsored work camp, volunteers are going out into the community to make minor repairs and upgrades to homes and properties of several low income families. "We've built some handicapped ramps. We've cleaned up a lot of brush and done yard work and things that have just gotten out of hand for people who could not get to it or who didn't have the time, ability or the tools and equipment to do it. We're trying to make a difference in the community," said Tim Woodward, Involvement Minister of the Smithville Church of Christ.

Woodward said this is the church's first project of this kind locally. "It's the first time we've ever done it. The idea was born out of some mission work we had done. We had been to Mexico for eleven years doing some construction work on church buildings and then we went to South Carolina for seven years. We went to Tuba City, Arizona to a Navajo Indian Reservation out there and did some work. We always talked on those trips about doing something here locally so we got together the first of the year and came up a plan and sent out some applications. We got some back and word spread that we were doing some projects for people in the city and county that either couldn't afford to do the projects or couldn't do it themselves," he said.

Families served through the work camp are not required to pay for the services. "We had a special contribution at church a couple of months ago. Our goal was to pay for all the necessary supplies and things that we need. There have been some (families) who have said I can afford to pay but I just can't do the work. They have graciously done that and it has allowed our resources to go a little bit further," said Woodward.

The church volunteers hope to complete about twenty five projects this week during the work camp. Woodward said he is hopeful the program will become an annual event. "We've averaged about 45 people out working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We've had a good turnout. We've got some ladies that cook our lunch and supper for us. We eat and go back at it. We're kind of feeling our way through it but we hope it becomes an annual event. We would like to eventually invite other youth groups to be part of it. Hopefully it will only get bigger and better," said Woodward.

DeKalb County’s Evans honored by TTU College of Business

July 10, 2013
Brady Evans

Brady Evans, of Smithville, received the Avo Anderson Memorial scholarship from Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business.

Evans is a junior studying business management and a graduate of DeKalb County High School. He was one of more than 100 students to receive a scholarship from the College of Business this spring. The college distributed nearly $143,000 this spring to its top students.

“We are proud of this outstanding group of students,” said James Jordan-Wagner, dean of TTU’s College of Business. “We are also extremely pleased with the support we receive from businesses and alumni in supplying the private funds for scholarships. In these trying times, they have responded by increasing the amount that we could award this year.”

“These awards recognize our students’ achievements and help us to attract quality students to TTU.”

County Budget Committee Asks School Board to Fund Two SROs

July 10, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

The budget committee wants the school board to partner with the county commission in funding four new school resource officers.

During Tuesday night's meeting, members of the budget committee voted 4 to 1 to include funding for two new SROs in the proposed county general budget, but only if the school board will vote to fund two in its budget.

The Board of Education will meet Thursday night in regular session to discuss the proposed new school budget.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, who had previously said the school system might find funding for one new SRO position through the Safe Schools Grant and other sources, now says the county shouldn't count on it, given cuts the budget committee has asked the school board to make in its proposed budget for 2013-14 "Asking us to cut $147,000, I don't believe there will be a chance for an SRO to be funded. Whatever the school board directs me to put in the budget, I'll put in the budget. I had said I felt pretty comfortable about one SRO. That wasn't in the budget but I said I felt we could do that. But when we were asked to do basically $150,000 worth of cuts, I don't think they (school board) would do an SRO officer and $150,000 in cuts," said Willoughby.

The county's proposed budget for 2013-14 currently includes funding for two new SRO positions. The school system's portion to fund two new SRO's would be $73,839 including salaries and benefits. The county would be responsible for the costs of equipping and training the new officers.

Budget committee member Jack Barton said he favored the county general funding all four new positions to ensure each school has an SRO, especially given the fact that the county will not have to meet all the requirements of the federal affordable health care act this year. Barton made a motion to fund all four new SROs but his motion died for the lack of a second. " I believe I would be looking at it at a very different level, if we were still being held to the standard of what the affordable health care act was asking us to do," said Barton. "But given that we've tried to ask them (school board) to make cuts and given that we're not going to be held to the penalties or the have to's of the affordable health care act, I want to put it out there. (to fund all four new SRO positions)," said Barton.

Committee member Larry Summers then made a motion that the county general fund two new SRO's (salaries and benefits) if the school board does the same with the county to pick up all the expense of training and equipping the new officers with patrol cars, guns, etc. The vote was 4-1. Committee members Wayne Cantrell, Marshall Ferrell, and Jerry Scott joined Summers in voting for the motion. Barton voted against it, since he wants the county general budget to fund all four new SROs.

County Mayor Mike Foster then polled the twelve county commissioners present at the budget committee meeting to see how they felt about funding two SROs if the school board funds two SROs. All but three said they favored it. However when polled about the county general funding all four SROs, a majority of the commissioners said no.

The budget committee approved all budgets Tuesday night with the exception of the school budget until the Board of Education meets Thursday night to take action on its proposed spending plan. The county budget committee will meet again Friday night, July 12 at 6:00 p.m. to act on the school budget.

County Mayor Foster said he wants the county to have a consolidated budget approved by the budget committee no later than July 15.

Two Teens Accused of Stealing School System's Driver's Ed Car

July 9, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two minors are to appear in Juvenile Court this week for allegedly stealing the Drivers Education car, a Chevy Lumina, from the Board of Education bus garage last Wednesday.

Smithville Police said the juveniles allegedly entered the lot, took possession of the vehicle, drove it through the gate, and off the property.

The car and the boys, ages 13 & 14, were found the next day, Thursday July 4 in Cannon County where they showed up at a residence asking for gas, according to Sheriff Patrick Ray

The episode began on Wednesday, July 3 when the boys set out on a four wheeler from a cabin home belonging to one of the boy's parents on Holmes Creek Road. The boys later rode to the school bus garage, allegedly broke in, and then drove off in the car, crashing through the gate. They apparently left behind the four wheeler.

After the boys failed to return, the parents reported them missing. On Thursday, July 4 Woodbury Police received a report that two boys had come to a residence in Woodbury, where they knocked on the door, looking for gas.

Upon discovering the boys were reported missing from DeKalb County, Woodbury Police notified Central Dispatch in DeKalb County. The parents were contacted and picked up the boys.

Juvenile petitions were later taken against the boys for committing a delinquent act in stealing the car.

44 year old Jamie S Bullard was arrested on Thursday, July 4 for aggravated assault, public intoxication, resisting arrest, indecent exposure and vandalism under $500.00. Police were dispatched to Bullard's home Thursday evening for a disturbance. Upon arrival the officer met Bullard who advised someone had destroyed his house. Bullard was found to be intoxicated and belligerent and cursing at the officers. At one point he removed his clothes and threw a rock at one of the officers and threatened to shoot them. After being taken to jail, Bullard allegedly set fire in and flooded the cell. While officers attempted to gain control, Bullard resisted. Bond for Bullard is $17,000 and his court date is July 25.

32 year old Mark D. Young was arrested for DUI on July 7. Young was stopped for a traffic violation and upon contact, the officer smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Young didn't wish to do field sobriety tasks. Bond for Young is $1500 and his court date is July 25.

Anyone with information on criminal activities is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

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