By Becky Killian / Editor
During a special called meeting Monday, the Knox County Board of Education voted to lift the district’s hiring freeze so four vacant positions could be filled.
Before the vote, Interim Superintendent Ralph Hoskins explained one of the positions, that of bookkeeper in the central office, had been vacant for about six months. By filling the position, Hoskins said the district would be able to proceed to launch new processes that will reduce paperwork and improve efficiency.
Included among those processes is a switch to paperless bills, which Gertrude Smith, finance officer, said would computerize the process involving invoices and checks.
The board voted to lift the hiring freeze to allow four positions to be filled, including the bookkeeper’s post — with the candidate required to have a degree — as well as interpreter, an alternative math teacher and a preschool teacher at Lynn Camp.
The board voted to raise the district’s dropout age to 18 beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.
The board then had a break to allow the district’s superintendent search screening committee to finish its meeting, which allowed board member Sam Watts to return for an executive session. According to Frank Shelton, the district’s spokesman, no action was taken as a result of that executive session, which dealt with pending litigation.
Once the board’s meeting resumed, it hired a special inspector for G.R. Hampton Elementary Renovation Project. The inspector will examine the the structural safety of the building, including load-bearing walls. The cost of the inspector was included in the original project budget and was required due to the nature of the renovation at the school.
The board voted to delete the emergency generator from the Dewitt Elementary project, which will net a cost-savings of about $15,469. The district will instead look for an alternative method to keep the school’s waste treatment plant operating during prolonged electrical outages.
The board approved rerouting buses in the Lynn Camp, Central Elementary, Dewitt Elementary, Flat Lick Elementary and G.R. Hampton Elementary areas. As a result, one or two bus routes will be eliminated with an expected cost savings of about $24,000 for each route. Shelton said this was in addition to four bus routes already eliminated by the transportation department that were not at capacity.