By JONAH LOSSIAH
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Monday, Sept, 16 meeting of the Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 pm with Chairperson Charlotte Saunooke; Vice Chairperson Gloria Griffin; Secretary Jennifer Thompson; board members Isaac Long, Karen French-Browning; Superintendent Dr. Michael Murray; Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beverly Payne; School Board Assistant Sunnie Clapsaddle; and HR Director Heather Driver present. Board member John Crowe was late to the meeting. Tribal Council Representative David Wolfe was the only absentee.
Superintendent Murray led the opening prayer, and the minutes from the Sept. 3 meeting were approved.
The meeting began by welcoming in Cherokee Middle School (CMS) Principal Joel Creasman and CMS Counselor Kelsey Owle to discuss the future of the 8th grade trip. Creasman and Owle explained that they have been exploring new options for the trip. For the last few years, the 8th grade had gone on an educational trip to the North Carolina coast. However, the hurricane that hit the coast last year prevented the outing, and they moved it to Charleston, S.C. They have also been trying to increase participation, for only one-third of the eighth-grade students signed up to go to Charleston.
The Board insisted that the event have an educational focus and suggested that their guests poll the kids to gauge interest on multiple options. The Board members also agreed that Creasman and Owle had a handle on the situation and that they didn’t need a follow-up meeting when the 8th grade had come to a decision.
The next guests to come into the meeting were Ashford Smith and William Lowe from the Cherokee Boy’s Club. They were present to offer the CCS finance report for the first month of the school year. They said that haven’t been any surprises in the report so far and that they will have more analysis to provide as the year progresses.
The Board then moved to the consent agenda, which only consisted of two resolutions. One of those, which regarded filling a teacher position at Cherokee Elementary School, was pulled for future conversation. The other was passed and approved Elle Bradley as the human resources coordinator for CCS.
A closed session was then called to discuss the pulled resolution and lasted just over 15 minutes.
After the meeting opened, the Board continued to discuss Resolution 20-069. Gloria Griffin made a motion to approve the resolution, but no member offered a second to the motion. This ‘killed’ the resolution, meaning that it did not go to vote and did not pass.
The old business consisted of salary adjustments to the head football coaches of both the JV and Varsity teams. Human Resources needed to confirm the reported years of experience for the coaches, and both had enough confirmed years to qualify for a higher pay scale. These adjustments were both approved.
New business started with Dr. Beverly Payne providing an update on CCS Makerspaces and the funding of them. CCS planned to pay for the systems using a grant request, but the amount given to the school was less than anticipated. Payne and the Board then discussed possible options for raising the money needed. They came to a consensus that Payne should lead the search on finding an appropriate method for raising the money.
The Board then reviewed the job description for an alternative classroom teacher position at Cherokee High School (CHS). The high school is currently the only school in CCS that doesn’t have a ‘Behavior Mod Classroom,’ according the to HR Director Heather Driver. The position was once combined with another at the school, but an opening has occurred after retirement of personnel.
The final piece of business handled at the meeting regarded an emergency resolution to policy 2200: Election of Officers/Organization of Board. It added a stipulation stating that the Tribal Council Representative on School Board “shall have no vote unless the event of a tie. The Tribal Council representative will only vote to break a tie”.
Jennifer Thompson also brought up the idea of CCS joining the North Carolina Association of Scholastic Activities (NCASA). This is an organization of schools in the state that put together academic competitions. Superintendent Murray followed up by saying that it sounded like an excellent opportunity to recognize those kids that excelled academically.
Newly-elected School Board members Regina Ledford-Rosario (Painttown) and Tara Reed-Cooper (Big Y) will be inaugurated on Monday, Oct. 7 with EBCI’s Tribal Council Members and the Executive Office. They will be replacing Big Y representative John Crowe and Painttown representative Charlotte Saunooke, neither of whom ran for reelection.
The next meeting of the School Board will take place after the inauguration for the swearing-in of the new members and selection of the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. A time has not been set for the Oct. 7 meeting.