Board sets retroactive rent on house

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The Clinton School District superintendent should have been paying rent on a district-owned house occupied by one of his relatives, the School Board president said Monday night.

Board President Kyle Hensley said the board was aware that Superintendent James McGaha did not plan to live in the house and agreed it would be OK for his relative to live there. But, Hensley said, it “has come to light” that if McGaha did not live there, he should have had to pay rent and utilities for his relative.

Board member Darla McJunkins said it would be easy to find out how much the utilities had cost the district. But, she said, when it came to the rent, she thought it should be minimal because the house was promised to McGaha as part of his benefits package.

The board decided on retroactive rent of $1 per month for each month the relative lived in the house and McGaha did not. The board also decided to make some inquiries and decide how much a three-bedroom, two-bath house would rent for in the area, and then adopt an amount to charge beginning early next year.

Also at the meeting, Cheryl Smith, representing the classified Personnel Policy Committee, told the board that the committee had voted on the salary/stipend schedule for 2012-13 that was adopted by the board in November. She said 82 percent of the members voted against accepting the schedule. Smith said the committee is compiling a list of nearby schools of roughly the same size to compare salaries.

Before Smith spoke, the School Board rescinded an earlier vote in which it selected a committee to review salaries and stipends. Hensley said the board’s attorney informed him that any panel appointed by the School Board would have to meet after 5 p.m. and notify the press of its meetings and those meetings would have to be open to the public.

Hensley said the lawyer suggested the board rescind its vote and the superintendent appoint the committee. Board members said they did not think it was good to discuss salaries in public and this would be a legal way of not having a public meeting.

“People’s stipends and stuff, you don’t want known until its decided,” said board member Kirk Pryor.

McJunkins requested that a copy of the committee’s minutes be included in board member’s informational packets they receive before each meeting.

In an update on construction, Michael Biery of Crafton Tull updated the board on construction projects. He said the Junior High building should be completed in late January. As for the K-3 building, the architects issued a project review set to Van Horn contractors. Biery said the estimation on construction is $9.3 million and bids should go out in January.

Biery also said the heating and air project for the new auditorium and gymnasium was “grossly underestimated.” The plan was to spend $50,000, but a single unit costs $70,000, he said.

“Once the dust settles, we’ll see where we are (on other projects),” he said.

Also at the meeting:

— Junior High Principal Mark Gammill noted that the Junior High had attained “exemplary” status for the second straight year, and had increased scores in language arts. He praised this staff for their hard work.

— McJunkins was applauded for being named an Outstanding School Board member in Region 6.

— Burtie Harder, speaking for the certified Personnel Policy Committee, asked the board to look at the sick leave policy.

The School Board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 31. The meeting is open to the public.

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