CCS Board meets and greets with CBC Board

by Feb 22, 2024NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – The Cherokee Central Schools School Board met on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in the Central Office Board Room of Cherokee Central Schools.

Those present at the meeting included Tara Reed-Cooper, co-vice-chairperson and Big-Y rep.; Micah Swimmer, Painttown rep.; Kristina Hyatt, Big Cove rep.; Melanie Lambert, co-vice chairperson and Birdtown rep.; Roberta Toineeta, Wolftown rep.; Michael Stamper, Tribal Council Representative; Consuela Girty, CCS superintendent; Dr. Beverly Payne, Assistant Superintendent; Dr. Jo Ray, CCS director of human resources; and Diane Driver, executive administrative assistant. Chairperson Jennifer Thompson was absent (Thompson was attending a Consortium of State School Board Associations (COSSBA) Conference in Dallas, Texas).

The meeting was called to order at 4:45 p.m. Tara Reed-Cooper presided over the meeting. The meeting agenda, Feb. 5 meeting minutes, and a February 9 Email Poll were all approved by the board.

5th Grade Educator Corrie Coats addressed the Board to report on a project in her classroom that resulted in a published book written and illustrated by her students. She described the process, stating that the children voted on content and each part of the process. The book is about Cherokee heroes as selected by the students. School Board members were given two of the first printing to examine. Coats said that some of the children’s families had purchased books for their children who participated, but not all had, for various reasons. The School Board decided (voted) to fund the remaining children’s books for all who had written and illustrated the book to be sure that they receive a copy.

Both CCS Finance Director Howard Wahnetah and CBC Finance Director Rhonica Via reported that the school system’s finances are in order and spending is on-track. Wahnetah provided a copy of the school’s report to the One Feather. No report was received from the CBC Finance Director.

Reed-Cooper, who in addition to being on the School Board is also a member of the CBC Board of Directors, introduced the Cherokee Boys Club Board of Directors and Executive Director. Additional members of the CBC Board are Aaron Bradley, Donnie Owle, Doris Johnson, Big Cove Tribal Council Representative Perry Shell who were in attendance. Tagan Crowe, Benny Graves, Doris Johnson, and Bradley Letts are also on the CBC Board. Discussion included the status of the CBC audit, which Executive Director Greg Owle explained was progressing with the CBC waiting on the audit firm to receive the report on FY2022 so that they may start on FY2023. The arrival times of the 15 new electric buses was also a topic, and Owle stated that the grant funding has not yet been released but CBC is already working on the electrical infrastructure building necessary to charge the incoming buses. Owle also made mention of the continuing practice of the CBC for distributing Bibles to students (a practice initiated by the late Ray Kinsland).

Kristina Hyatt applauded this continued practice, stating, “Thank you for giving the Bibles. It is the most important thing we can do for kids.”

The School Board acknowledged the second reading of “Policy 7100: Recruitment and Selection of Personnel” which includes a detailed section regarding hiring parameters for persons with criminal conduct in their background.  The Board also reviewed “Policy 5022: Registered Sex Offender”. This was its first reading with revisions. The purpose of this review was to revise the school policy to be in line with the Cherokee Code, which has a stricter stance on sex offender restrictions than state guidelines.

The Board also approved the school year 2024-25 calendar, noting that the current calendar lists Elders’ Day on Aug. 26, which is a Monday and Elders’ Day is typically on a Thursday. The Board agreed that this could be corrected when an updated date is announced.

The consent agenda was approved unanimously except for one item, 24-120 concerning Matthew Martens approval as the Girl’s Soccer Volunteer. This was held for discussion in closed session at the request of board member Micah Swimmer. The following resolutions were approved from the consent agenda:

24-118: Jason McMillian is approved as the CCS Men’s Head Golf Coach.

24-119: Martha Ledford is approved for an increase to the Level 5 pay scale at her current step effective December 11, 2023 due to obtaining a Master of Art Degree in Elementary Education (K-6).

24-121: Sebastian Brun is approved as the Goalie Coach/Volunteer.

24-122: Zac Crowe is approved as the Baseball Volunteer.

24-123: Nick Garcia is approved as the CMS Softball Volunteer.

24-124: Makayla Deel is approved as a Teacher for the Cherokee Elementary School.

24-125: Randi Lauren Tatham is approved as a Speech Language Pathologist for Cherokee Central Schools.

The School Board went into a closed session after public business to consider two employee appeals and one employee contract waiver request.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, March 4 at 4:45 p.m. in joint session with the Swain County School Board. The meeting location is East Elementary School, Bryson City, N.C. School Board meetings are open to the public unless they are in executive session.