Things got a bit confrontational at Bryan County’s first regular school board meeting of 2009.
Chairman Eddie Warren called the meeting back to order with sharp raps of the gavel after board members Judy Crosby and Vice Chair Jeff Morton exchanged words toward the end.
The exchanged was sparked when Crosby made reference to policy manuals the board had received and suggested they be taken home and studied closely by all board members.
"Please be sure you read them because any violations that we do, our students will have to pay for," Crosby said.
She said she would report violations by members of school board policies to SACS - the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the district.
Crosby did not mention any specific violations or members, but said egos needed to be put aside and the best interest of the children put first.
She said she had confronted some of the board in executive sessions and wanted to make sure she had been heard.Morton, who recently defeated former BoE chair Carroll Ann Coleman for his seat, told Crosby he didn’t appreciate her accusations and if she had something specific to say to do it, whether in front of everyone or after the meeting.
"These innuendos that I’m doing something wrong are unfounded and you make these accusations then walk away from them." Morton said.
Crosby said she hadn’t called any names, but "if the shoe fits, wear it," at which point Warren called the meeting back to order.
Policies and procedures were also a concern of both Doug Goolsby, owner of Beef O’brady’s where school fundraisers have been held in the past, and Jeff Wise, father of two Richmond Hill High School students.
Goolsby said he was still confused by the policy that emerged back in November against school functions at places that served alcohol.
He said he thought the issue had been settled when the board said approval or denial was in the hands of the school’s principal.
Goolsby said that since November, two more school groups cancelled scheduled events and one of them just didn’t show up.
Wise had voiced concerns about management of SPLOST project funds at December’s BoE meeting, citing RHHS baseball field safety netting as an example.
Thursday night, he said a letter to the editor in the Bryan County News by former BoE Vice Chair Frances Meeks"misrepresented" him and was "totally out of line."
Wise said he wanted Meeks formally addressed by the board and its board members "controlled."
"Adversarial relationships are not good. It discourages people from speaking when being treated as I was." Wise said.
He asked the board to revisit its internal policies and procedures and make sure they are used 100 percent of the time and not just when convenient.
Warren said the board did not know Meeks letter to the editor was coming. He said letters to the paper by members of the board should not be signed as a board member unless the board approved it.
In other business:
The canopy addition for Richmond Hill Middle School was tabled temporarily until the board could get with the architects to review options that would bring the cost down from the $153,500 low bid.
New board member Charlie Johnson said he couldn’t see spending that much money for something that would only be in place about two years when additional school construction could change the need for the canopy.
- The board approved a motion accepting a donation from Bryan County Elementary School PTO to the school in the amount of $2,000 for Economics Day.
- A donation of 20 tables valued at $9,000 from Ikea furniture Plant in Port Wentworth to the Bryan County School System was approved.
- The board voted to accept a donation of $1,000 from the Coca-Cola Company of Savannah to the Richmond Hill High School Scholarship Account.
- Approval accepting $3,750 from Carver Elementary School PTSO to CES for items needed by teachers was given.
- The board approved a C-team golf position for middle schools with a supplement of $900 and a C-team track position for middle schools with a supplement of $1,000. The programs apply to both middle and high schools.