BCPEF credits board for ‘investment’ in education

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG  Banner Staff Writer
Posted 1/11/17

The Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation is grateful for the “investment” local school boards are making.

That was the assessment of Matt Bentley, the BCPEF’s executive …

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BCPEF credits board for ‘investment’ in education

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The Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation is grateful for the “investment” local school boards are making.

That was the assessment of Matt Bentley, the BCPEF’s executive committee president, when he spoke to the Bradley County Board of Education on Thursday.

“Our children have truly benefited because of your support,” Bentley said.

Bentley shared many of the foundation’s efforts over the past year, stressing none of it would have been possible without help from local school boards and community members.

Teachers received thousands of dollars in grants for their classrooms. Some also went on international professional development trips through Fund For Teachers, a national organization.

The foundation also assisted schools as they wrote thousands of dollars in grants and held community fundraising efforts. Results of these included Taylor Elementary School receiving a nearly $50,000 Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children grant and Bradley Central High School raising funds to build a new athletic weight room facility.

It also funded the distribution of “Plickers” cards, tech-related tools teachers can use to quiz their students, to 486 local classrooms.

“This was not just a budget line item; it was an investment,” said Bentley.

Bradley County Schools’ budget for the 2016-17 year included a $25,000 donation to the BCPEF for its operating expenses. This was a jump from $15,000 in the 2015-16 year.

The county board’s only voting actions during its Thursday meeting were the approval of a consent agenda and a single board policy change.

The consent agenda included things like field trip approvals, while the policy change had to do with how high school students’ end of course testing affects their final grades.

Up until Thursday night, board Policy 4.700 stated high school students’ end of course exam scores “comprise 25 percent of the student’s second semester average.” 

However, this school year, it will only count for 10 percent. During the 2017-18 year, it will rise to 15 percent. In the 2018-19 year, it will once again return to 20 percent.

Director of Schools Dr. Linda Cash said this change was being made because of recent changes in state testing. When the Tennessee Department of Education rolled out its current TNReady tests, it allowed provisions like this to help students as they get used to the tests.

The board approved both the policy change and the consent agenda with unanimous votes.

During her director’s report, Cash also recognized Damon Floyd, head football coach at Bradley Central High School.

For years, Floyd has led football players in volunteering to help with the distribution for William Hall Rodgers Christmas Basket Fund.

Though Cash presented Floyd with a certificate for his efforts, he noted thanks was also due to the players who gave of their time early on a Saturday morning.

“It’s neat to see our kids actually giving back,” said Floyd.

Susan Wilcutt, finance director for Bradley County Schools, also spoke to the board briefly about the need to begin thinking about the 2017-18 budget.

Priorities for the upcoming budget are among the topics the board plans to discuss during its annual retreat this month. The board’s next regular meeting will be Feb. 9.

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