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Friday, January 11, 2019

Cocke School Board
Members of the Cocke County School Board meeting Thursday evening approved the purchase of 112 digital radios to be disbursed throughout all the schools in the system. Assistant Director Casey Kelley told the body that the radios which are wi-fi compatible, will allow direct communication from the schools to 911 central dispatch. Kelley pointed out that the use of stand-alone cell phones is not satisfactory because a number of schools in the system have poor or no cell phone service. He said the radio system is capable of communicating over any Apple device to 911, meaning an Ipad or Iphone. "No matter if you are in the bathroom at Del Rio, or at Grassy Fork, we are still on wi-fi. Most teachers have access to an Ipad or Iphone, so we can now have a direct link to 911 in the event of any time of emergency. It's just another level of communication that we are trying to establish for the safety of our kids," he told the board. The school board also was told by Director of Schools Manney Moore that at next month's meeting he will present Charges For Dismissal, in the case of Cocke County High School teacher Keith Douglas Wilson. In December, Wilson,27, was charged with Aggravated Statutory Rape, Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure, Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure and Solicitation of a Minor. He allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 17 year-old female Cocke County High student, and is currently on suspension without pay. The juvenile admitted she told Wilson she was 18 years old. "These charges will be presented and the school board is tasked with deciding if these charges are true, and if it warrants dismissal. If they certify the charges, Mr. Wilson has certain legal avenues he can explore," explained Moore. The Charges for Dismissal allege that Wilson is "unfit to be a teacher in the Cocke County School System, and for the benefit and welfare of the students in our school system,...the dismissal is recommended." If the school board recommends dismissal, Wilson will have 30 days to appeal the decision. Members of the board also went on record opposing vouchers to fund private schools. Governor-elect Bill Lee is a proponent of vouchers which allow students to attend a private school, and the local school system is mandated to pay the tuition. The Tennessee School Boards Association and many other school systems, have recently passed strongly worded resolutions opposing vouchers. Dr. Ken Johnson, who chairs the local school board, has been a vocal opponent of vouchers and he read the full Resolution to the board. It points out that for more than 50 years proponents of vouchers have been working to have them funded, and have spent millions of dollars in the effort to convince the public and lawmakers of the efficacy of the concept, "and yet five decades later vouchers still remain controversial, unproven and unpopular." The Resolution also points out that the state constitution requires the funding of free public schools with no mention of private schools; that while public schools have nationally recognized standards for accountability; vouchers eliminate accountability; fund schools that do not adhere to open meetings and records laws; vouchers have not improved student achievement but fund schools that are not required to accept all students and so they leave students with the greatest needs behind; vouchers divert critical dollars from public schools to pay private tuition for a few students and vouchers are an inefficient use of tax dollars because they compel taxpayers to support two education systems including private schools which are not accountable to all taxpayers. The board was told that many private schools are not accredited and are not required to meet state standards.

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Monday, June 24, 2019

  • NU power outage
  • Judge Duane Slone honored
  • Opioid deaths decrease in Tennessee
  • Congress blocks Saudi arms sales
  • Baby milk formula is recalled
  • Newport Street Department

    Sunday, June 23, 2019

  • Housing starts in Tennessee
  • Retirement costs
  • Suicide increases in Tennessee

    Friday, June 21, 2019

  • Roe representative to be in Newport

    Thursday, June 20, 2019

  • McCord visits Newport
  • Alexander sponsors legislation to reduce out of pocket medical costs
  • Messer arrest
  • Special session of CLB

    Wednesday, June 19, 2019

  • Cocke County budget discussions continue
  • Phillips charged in double murder
  • ETSU tuition to increase
  • Small business job growth
  • Library is closed

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