Both chose to end their service to the board by not running for re-election this year.
“It has been a true honor for me to serve Bradley County over the past eight years,” Baker said.
“Dr. Baker, I appreciate you serving on the board. I appreciate your friendship and helping me when I first came on the board,” Chairman Charlie Rose said.
Kelley began his time on the board by serving two years, finishing the term of another board member. He then ran for election and served a four-year term. Kelley said the school system has accomplished a lot in that time.
“We’ve done some wonderful things,” Kelley said.
“I consider Mr. Kelley a friend and a lover of Bradley County Schools and wish him the best,” Rose said.
Board members were also able to meet incoming board members Nicholas Lillios and Christopher Turner, who attended the meeting for a taste of what they will be doing next month.
Kelley and Baker’s last votes as board members were part of unanimous decisions on the following:
- The board approved a bid from Mid-South Bus Center for a special needs bus. Supervisor of pupil services Gary Austin said this bid was the best option because the least expensive bid was for a lesser quality product. Funding for the bus is coming from federal special education funding, according to Austin.
- A new systemwide voice over IP phone system was also approved. The voice over IP system is less expensive than trying to replace the system with hard-wired phones, according to supervisor of technology Scott Humberd. It is also less expensive to covert the system all at once rather then over the span of a few years. Funding for the project within the budget was presented with the proposal.
“Our phones were put in place in 1987. The equipment is old, but also the lines,” Humberd said.
He added having a clear connection was sometimes a problem. The system would also make it possible for schools needing to call someone at the central office to simply dial the person’s extension.
Also during the meeting:
- Board members recognized students from Walker Valley High School who had been certified by the Central Agencies for Schools Abroad and the German Government in speaking German at the A2 level. A2 is a series of tests to measure proficiency of the language. According to WVHS teacher Lisa Eulo, the students showed on the tests that they can “communicate simple and routine tasks and exchange information on familiar and routine matters.”
“These students have set the standard,” Eulo said.
- An update on the Bradley County Virtual School was also given. According to Principal Zoe Renfro, the school now has 38 students.
“We’re really excited about this school and the opportunity to serve students in a different way,” Renfro said.
She said 14 of these are brand-new to the school system. This is the number of new students the system had estimated would be needed to fund the program through state funding per student. The majority of these students, 30, are in grades 7- 12. The curriculum for the virtual schools meets the academic standards required for every public school.