By Heather Mullinix
The Cumberland County Board of Education approved changes to its attendance policy to comply with state law and to its home school policy to make it easier for parents understand testing requirements.
The attendance policy, which has undergone several revisions in recent months, was changed to state more than 10 consecutive or 15 reported absences (unexcused) by a student during any semester renders a student ineligible to retain a driver's permit or license, or to obtain such if of age. Previously, the policy stated this provision would apply for excused or unexcused absences, but that does not comply with state law.
This policy change only requires one reading and is now in effect.
The home school policy adds the Tennessee Code Annotated citation so that parents can find the testing requirements for home school students. According to TCA 49-6-3050, home school students who fall more than one year behind the appropriate grade level in comprehensive test scores for two consecutive tests, and are not learning disabled, will be required to enroll in public, private or church-related school. During discussions of the policy committee, Josh Stone, 4th District representative, said parents had told him they found the policy to be misleading, making parents think home school students were required to take the comprehensive tests yearly. That is not the case. Home school students are only required to be tested in grades 5, 7 and 9. The reference to the TCA citation was added so the policy would remain current even if the state elected to change those requirements.
The policy committee recommended the changes, which were unanimously approved by the board.
In other business, the board approved:
•memorandum of understanding between the Tennessee Department of Education and the school system to provide coordinated school health services using $100,000 for development and maintenance of the program;
•grant application for Cumberland County Coordinated School Health program;
•grant application to obtain funding for the voluntary pre-kindergarten program;
•Pleasant Hill Elementary grant application to VECustomers Share to purchase football equipment;
•South Cumberland Elementary grant application to the Nutrients for Life Foundation for $50 towards supplies to teach nutrients and soil science;
•South Cumberland Elementary grant application to Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Project Hometown Help to purchase football equipment;
•South Cumberland Elementary grant application to VECustomers Share to support a PTO reading program;
•Brown Elementary cookie dough fundraiser Aug. 23 through Sept. 6;
•Homestead Elementary catalog fundraiser;
•North Cumberland Fall Book Fair fundraiser Sept. 23-27;
•Pine View Elementary catalog fundraiser;
•Stone Memorial High School Panther Dash 5K and one-mile fun run Nov. 9;
•South Cumberland Elementary catalog fundraiser for mid-September.