The school system’s before- and after-school child care program will have a system-wide director next year as the school system eyes expansion.

“My goal is to expand this program,” said Kim Bray, human resources supervisor. 

Her son attended school in Putnam County, which has before- and after-school care programs at every elementary school.

“I’ve asked since the day I came here, ‘What does everybody do with their kids?” Bray said. “I’ve talked to some of the other principals, and they’re willing to try it. But as the program grows, the principal has enough on them during the day. That was my thought.”

But members of the Cumberland County Board of Education questioned placing those duties on the plate of the current homeless liaison and family resource center coordinator. 

“We’ve had no one at the district level to give some guidance to that program,” Director of Schools Janet Graham told the board.

In other counties, the family resource center has taken on those child care programs, as well.

Graham said the system must have a homeless liaison, with funding from federal grants, and the family resource center program is supported through state grants. 

“There were some antiquated things in that job description,” Graham said. “It’s also an extension of that job description.”

Teresa Boston, 8th District representative, questioned having such a large job description.

“Can we not have two totally different job descriptions, even though one person does the same job?” she asked. “I would not support that large of a job description. Those have nothing to do with one another, even though they are wonderful, much-needed jobs.”

Separating the job descriptions could cause a problem with funding, however. The Cumberland County Quality Childcare Program operates on payments from families participating in the programs. The school system does provide facilities, but staffing and supplies are paid by program revenues, not by tax funds.

Chief Financial Officer Kacee Harris said the family resource center and childcare program often serve many of the same families.

“There’s a lot of overlap,” she said. “That’s how it naturally migrated together.”

Bray said the childcare program had to meet a number of state regulations. The two current programs in the county, North Cumberland Elementary and Homestead Elementary, were operating with very different programs.

“For the sake of consistency, we thought it would be better to get everyone on the same board,” she said. 

Graham said not approving the job description would also change the pay of the person currently in that position. A review of central office positions found the homeless liaison and family resource center coordinator, a position held by one person, was being paid on the noncertified supervisor payscale with a 260-day contract. However, the position did not have supervisory duties and the person worked 200 days. The employee elected to continue working 200 days. To remain on the supervisory payscale, the position needed supervisory duties, Graham said. There will be savings from the change from 260 days to 200 days.

Harris said there were sometimes such anomalies found.

“As we’ve seen before, there is no record of how it happened,” Harris said. “We don’t know how or why or when.”

She stressed the person in the position was not at fault.

“We felt this was the best solution,” Harris said. 

Josh Stone, 4th District representative, asked if the school system could establish a stipend for the countywide childcare program coordinator. Graham said the program is self-funding and a stipend could require school funds.

He said if keeping the jobs together would allow the grant funding for the position to continue, it would be “strategic and smart” to do it.

Tony Brock, 5th District representative, said, “Presently, it’s being funded by federal and state.”

He said the risk of developing a separate position was too great.

Boston questioned if the job would be overwhelming as the childcare program grows. Stace Karge, 9th District representative, said the board could revisit the situation if it proved too much for one person to handle.

Brock moved to approve the updated job description, supported by Karge. The motion passed with Boston voting no.

The board also confirmed the personnel list for the 2019-’20 school year.

In other business, the board approved the following consent agenda items:

•volunteers at South Cumberland Elementary, Stone Elementary and Crab Orchard Elementary

•Cumberland County High School cheerleaders attendance at cheer camp in Cookeville June 4-7

•CCHS girls basketball trip to Murfreesboro June 18-19

•Tennessee Teen Institute trip June 9-14

•contract with Stellar Therapy Services for the 2019-’20 school year

•contract with Lifetouch National School Studios for school photography and yearbook services at Homestead Elementary and Pleasant Hill Elementary

•acceptance of grant from Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s VECustomer’s Share to provide $100 each to Read to Be Ready summer reading camps at North Cumberland, Crab Orchard, Pleasant Hill and Homestead elementary schools

•application for a Healthy Kids Grant

•acceptance of a $5,000 grant from Dollar General to support the North Cumberland Elementary literacy program

•school-wide Smart Card fundraiser at South Cumberland Elementary

•school-wide candle and chocolate fundraiser at Homestead Elementary

•school-wide merchandise fundraiser at North Cumberland Elementary

•disposal of surplus property at North Cumberland, Pleasant Hill, Homestead, South Cumberland, Martin and Stone elementary schools, CCHS, central services and federal programs

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.