Cherokee County Schools 2018-2019 Calendar

Education

Commissioners hear road name dispute, tell of DC visit

News, Politics

MURPHY, N.C. – A dispute over the name of a road was presented to the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners during their Monday, March 19, meeting.

On the agenda was Anthony McCray, who is a 25-year resident of Lambert Road in Marble. McCray told the commissioners the road had formerly been known as Lower Vengeance Creek Road until the change to Lambert Road during a 911 addressing process in 2014 and he would like to see it restored to its previous name.

County Manager Randy Wiggins explained he was told that the road never had an official name according to 911 addressing records prior to the name of Lambert Road, which was named after one of the four property owners on the road, Ronald Lambert. Wiggins also stated no file of the name change petition from the four property owners could be found on record with the county.

In his complaint, McCray stated, “I just don’t think a road name should be in a surname when there’s different families living on the same road.” McCray also spoke directly to Lambert, who was in attendance at the meeting, and said he always considered him to be “a good neighbor” and whatever the outcome of the issue, his opinion of Lambert would remain the same.

Marble resident Ronald Lambert addresses the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners about a dispute over the name change of Lambert Road where he resides.

Lambert spoke after McCray saying, “The reason the road needed a name is because I’m a North Carolina licensed foster parent (and) once a year, the fire marshal comes out to my house to inspect my house. He said since there’s more than three residences on the road, the road must have a name. He looked at me and said, ‘You own two of residences, the other one is up for sale, I going to name it Lambert Road.'”

Lambert also said he did not know whether or not there was ever a petition among the residents to change the road. He further explained McCray does not receive his mail on Lambert Road but rather on Pisgah Road in Andrews. Ultimately, Lambert stated he wished for the road to remain Lambert Road, citing that changing his foster licensing to reflect a new address through the state would be troublesome and costly to him. Lambert also stated McCray is the only resident on the road that has an issue with the name.

Commissioner C.B. McKinnon stated that because no paperwork of the name change seems to exist on record, the road could rightfully revert back to Lower Vengeance Creek Road. However, he also said changing the name back to this would be pointless since a majority of the residents are content with its current name: “It looks to me like (the other residents) are going to change it right back to Lambert Road.”

McKinnon asked McCray and Lambert to try to settle the dispute themselves and the item was tabled by the board.

Earlier in the meeeting, John Higdon, executive director of facilities for Cherokee County Schools, presented the board with a budget amendment to use the half-cent school sales tax fund for a lump sum purchase in the amount of $367,707 for a number of maintenance expenditures at various schools throughout the system. The expenditures are a result of the findings of a finance subcommittee of the Board of Education organized to address needs of the school system. 

The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners hears a budget amendment request from John Hidgon, not pictured, to use the half-cent school sales tax fund. Pictured are, from left to right, Commissioner Gary Westmoreland, Chairman Dr. Dan Eichenbaum, Commissioner C.B. McKinnon, Commissioner Cal Stiles and County Manager Randy Wiggins.

The amount will cover six maintenance and repair projects, including a $343,900 project to replace the roof of Andrews High School gymnasium and cafeteria, a $1,537 expenditure to cover half the cost for a new scoreboard at the softball field at the recreation park, a $2,485 purchase for new stools at the Murphy Middle School cafeteria, a $6,500 storage building for Hiwassee Dam School, a $9,973 sprinkler system upgrade for the Murphy High School football field, and a $3,312 infield upgrade at the baseball field at Hiwassee Dam High School.

The budget amendment was approved unanimously.

A ground lease for a Med-Trans air medical transport modular office unit at Western Carolina Regional Airport was discussed by the commissioners. The commissioners reviewed a draft of the lease and Commissioner McKinnon pointed out three issues with which he noted concerns with the lease draft. It was also mentioned that the price of the lease, which would exist through Nov. 30, 2022, should be set at a fair market value instead of $1 per year.

Approval of the lease was tabled until changes to the draft could be made.

A pro-rated contract for legal services from Smith Rodgers, PLLC to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office was approved. The contract in the amount of $3,645 provides legal consultation services from Feb. 26 through June 30, 2018. At the Feb. 19 commissioners meeting, the board approved for the Sheriff’s Office to enter into a one-year agreement with Smith Rodgers beginning July 1 and approach the legal service with the prospect of establishing a pro-rated contract with Smith Rodgers until the lease takes effect this summer.

Two purchase requests from the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) were approved for the total amount of $6,225. The requests included a purchase of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rescue trailer that would transport a patient and a rescuer from a remote location to a waiting ambulance and a purchase of further equipment for the trailer that would allow for better immobilization of a patient placed in the trailer.

Commissioners Gary Westmoreland, pictured, and C.B. McKinnon recently took a trip to Washington D.C. and met with officials at the White House concerning rural infrastructure. (Photo courtesy of Gary Westmoreland)

Commissioners Gary Westmoreland and McKinnon told of their recent trip to Washington D.C. and the White House. Westmoreland said he and McKinnon met Vice President Mike Pence, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson. The commissioners also participated in a meeting involving other North Carolina commissioners concerning infrastructure.

“President (Donald) Trump is going to have – I think – $260 billion in infrastructure money and $50 billion that’s dedicated to rural infrastructure,” Westmoreland said.

In that meeting, the commissioners were told to have a countywide plan for local infrastructure improvements in place by May.

“And this is something that’s new,” Westmoreland said of the meeting. “(Previously) the president’s office would never work with local government. This is something that (Trump) wants to do.”

McKinnon stated he was appreciative of the opportunity saying, “It was a once in a lifetime trip.”

Two upcoming commissioners meeting dates were changed during this week’s meeting. The April 16 meeting was changed to April 23 and the May 7 meeting was rescheduled to May 10 in an effort to accommodate the May 8 primary election and to allow for an evenly balanced meeting schedule, according County Manager Wiggins.

 

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Conley discusses school safety at Board of Education meeting

Business

MURPHY, N.C. – At the Thursday, March 8, Cherokee County Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Dr. Jeana Conley, school superintendent, delivered an update on current school safety guidelines and policies as well as plans for continued improvement in this area.

After the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which claimed the lives of 17 students and staff, many school systems across the region have reviewed safety measures and taken steps to enhance safety procedures at school campuses.

Cherokee County School Superintendent Dr. Jeana Conley, center, addresses school safety at the Cherokee County Board of Education meeting Thursday, March 8, with board members Paul Brown, left, and Jeff Tatham, right.

Conley told the board several local meetings have taken place with principals, school resource officers (SROs) and other law enforcement officials since the Florida tragedy in an effort to review safety procedures and priorities. Currently, a number of measures are in place or are being established to enhance the safety of Cherokee County Schools.

The superintendent explained comprehensive safety and emergency response plans are in place at each campus across the school system and all staff have been trained for emergency response. Additionally, the school board is currently reviewing a re-evaluation of the system’s safety preparedness policies and will recommend further actions at its April BOE meeting. Students will receive updated safety training and instructions Tuesday, March 13, which has been designated Student School Safety Awareness Day by Cherokee County Schools. Also, monthly emergency drills are being conducted at all county schools.

Conley also stated Cherokee County Schools has received a grant to help secure a fifth SRO to serve at its 12 campuses countywide. The school system also plans to ask for additional funding for enough SROs to serve at all 12 schools on a full-time basis, Conley added.

Other improvements include the installation of keyless-entry hardware at school entry access points and school security cameras at school sites.

“All of our school administrators and counselors will be receiving professional development in threat assessment protocol to better identify students who are in need of support and further attention,” Conley informed the board.

A new and improved Safe Schools Alert, which allows individuals to report safety and security concerns anonymously via email, phone or text message, is also in the works, according to Conley.

The superintendent also stated she would like to see veterans, retired law enforcement, and other willing volunteers take part in an overall safety plan for each school.

“Caring community members can make an impact, just with a physical presence. We are hosting meetings in each area to explain how to become a volunteer and receive the volunteer application packet,” Conley said.

Cherokee County Schools have also adopted the “Run, Hide, Fight” emergency protocol enacted by the state as a method to counter an active-shooter event. Conley stated this method is applicable not only for students at schools but also at any public place where an active-shooter event takes place.

In other business, a number of potential purchases were presented for approval by Winfield Clonts, board member and chairman of the board’s financial subcommittee. The board awarded a contract bid to Ben Hill Roofing & Siding in the amount of $343,900.00, which was the lowest among four received bids, to replace the roof of the Andrews High School gymnasium and cafeteria buildings. Though Conley admitted the project might come with a “sticker shock,” she added the roof replacement is a necessary project, stating games played in the gymnasium in the past have had to be stopped during heavy rains.

The purchase of a new scoreboard for the softball field at Murphy Recreational Park was approved. Clonts explained the Murphy High School girls softball team uses the field for its games, and the school board will split costs for the scoreboard with the recreation park. The cost to Cherokee County Schools will be $1,537.

The board also approved the purchase of 68 new stools for the Murphy Middle School cafeteria in the amount $2,485. Clonts further explained the table tops in the school’s cafeteria remain in good condition.

Other purchases approved at the BOE meeting included:

  • A $6,500 purchase for a 12-by-24 storage unit for Hiwassee Dam School;
  • A $9,973 upgrade for the sprinkler system on the Murphy High School football field; and
  • A $3,312 project to resurface the infield of the Hiwassee Dam High School baseball field.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Two-hour delay for Cherokee County Schools Wednesday

Cherokee County Schools, News

MURPHY, N.C. – Due to the threat of inclement weather this morning, all Cherokee County Schools will operate on a two-hour delay today (Wednesday, March 21), according to a post issued on the school system’s website.

The school system will continue to monitor and access the weather situation and stated a possibility of closure is possible if snow continues.

Please continue to follow FetchYourNews for updates on the impacts of this winter storm.

 

 

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Conley explains flu impact on Cherokee schools

News, School Corner

MURPHY, N.C. – In her Superintendent’s Report at the Cherokee County Board of Education (BOE) meeting Thursday, Feb. 8, Dr. Jeana Conley discussed the impact of this year’s influenza outbreak on the county schools.

“Traditionally, to close a school, what we’ve seen historically is that we need 20 to 22 percent (absentee rate) and sometimes school systems wait until 30 percent (to close a school),” Conley explained. “We’re working with our health department. We would like, if there is a school closure, for it to be a collaborative effort that encompasses the entire community because it doesn’t do a lot of good according to the research to close schools if we can’t stop ball games, stop functions on the weekend (and) have limited activities with the community. So, it needs to be a comprehensive community approach when we do close schools.”

According to Conley, The Oaks Academy school had the highest absentee rate of all schools across Cherokee County as of the BOE meeting at 14.9 percent. This was followed by Murphy Middle School at 12.4 percent, Andrews Elementary at 11.7 percent, Hiwassee Dam High at 11.5 and Martins Creek Elementary at 10.7 percent to round out the top five schools with the highest absentee rate.

“One of the issues with the flu this year is that we’re not seeing it massively in our (absentee) numbers, but when we do see it, it is a terrible case of the flu,” Conley stated.

When BOE Chairman Paul Brown asked Conley if the number of absences were better than the previous week, Conley reported that there had been isolated spikes in numbers at certain schools but the county-wide numbers were falling.

After this, BOE member Tim Coffey asked Conley about absences among faculty and school staff. “We have not really had an issue with our faculty,” Conley said.

Board member Winfield Clonts gave a financial planning subcommittee report that included the proposal to request bids beginning Monday, Feb. 12, for an Andrews High School roofing project to replace the roof on the school’s cafeteria, gymnasium and dressing rooms buildings. Cherokee County Schools will receive bids on the project through March 1. Clonts told the board members the life of the roof had essentially expired two years ago.

The board discussed the lifespan advantages of proceeding with a pitched metal roof as opposed to a rubber roof. Clonts told the board a rubber roof typically has a 20-year lifespan while a metal roof usually has a 40-year lifespan. However, it was noted that installation of a metal roof would require some re-engineering of the building. Also, the board discussed the possibility of re-roofing the buildings without incorporating the existing skylights. After further discussion, the proposal for requesting bids was approved with the provision that received bids would include costs for re-roofing the building with and without the skylights.

The BOE approved usage of the Half-Cent Sales Tax Fund in the amount of $41,672 to cover maintenance and repair costs at Hiwassee Dam, Martins Creek and Murphy Elementary schools, Andrews Middle School, Murphy High School and The Oaks Academy.

An application for a debt service payment in the amount of $1,360.23 for building B at Andrews High School using the Public School Building Capital Fund of the North Carolina Education Lottery was also approved by the BOE.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Murphy High principal arrested, suspended amid allegations of misconduct

News

MURPHY, N.C. – According to a statement from Cherokee County (N.C.) Schools (CCS) issued Saturday morning, Feb. 10, Thomas Graham, principal of Murphy High School, has been suspended with pay from school duties in response to allegations of misconduct and Graham’s subsequent arrest Thursday, Feb. 8.

In the statement, Graham’s suspension came from CCS Jan. 26. “Mr. Jason Forrister has been acting principal during this time and will continue in that role as long as necessary,” CCS stated.

The statement from the school system continued to say:

“Cherokee County Schools has been working with local and state law enforcement agencies and has fully cooperated with their investigation. Because personnel matters are considered confidential under state law, CCS cannot make any further comment regarding Mr. Graham. Further it is imperative that CCS strive alongside law enforcement agencies to seek the truth and impart fairness to all parties involved … Student safety is the first priority of Cherokee County Schools and CCS takes the appropriate measures necessary to provide a welcoming and safe atmosphere for all students, staff, parents and volunteers. Cherokee County Schools would like to thank the state and local law enforcement officials for the professionalism they have demonstrated thus far. CCS will continue to work with law enforcement throughout the entire process.”

According to CCS, the law requires any suspension taking place during an investigation to be paid.

Graham, 45, was arrested by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Thursday afternoon, Feb. 8, and later released from the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $2,500 bond.

According the booking report from CCSO, Graham is charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a student stemming from incidents occurring in January and February of 2016. Graham is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Murphy March 5, at 9 a.m.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Make-up day options to be examined at next Board of Education meeting

News

MURPHY, N.C. – Cherokee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeana Conley stated Thursday, Jan. 25, that the school system is weighing options for potential make-up days, and in the process, is revising its school calendar.

Conley stressed that no official decision has been or will be made prior to the Feb. 8 Cherokee County Board of Education meeting.

According to Conley, the state of North Carolina mandates that the school year be finished by June 10. The superintendent also stated the school system will implement the use of virtual days, following the model employed by Transylvania County Schools, and she plans for the school year to be completed by June 1.

However, Conley mentioned that given the recent weather patterns this winter, the potential for further missed time is possible and would obviously force further changes to the school system’s plans.

For further coverage, please continue to follow FetchYourNews.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Early release for Cherokee County Schools

News, School Corner

MURPHY, N.C. – Cherokee County Schools announced on its Facebook page earlier today (Jan. 16) the early release of schools due to incoming winter weather:

Schools closing at 11:30 a.m.

The Cherokee County School System is closely monitoring today’s weather. The National Weather Service webinar held this morning at 4:00 a.m. indicated the winter weather is expected to arrive in our area between 1 and 5 p.m. We are grateful to have been able to get most of our kids in after the long weekend in order to give some of them the first breakfast and lunch they have had in several days, however in the interest of safety of travel all Cherokee County Schools will release today at 11:30. This will give all bus drivers a chance to complete their routes and get safely home before the risk of winter weather becomes a factor.

In addition, all after school activities are cancelled today- including 21st Century After School, and Community Night at Rib Country (Tuesday), January 16.

We realize this is a serious inconvenience to working parents and families and appreciate your support and patience. Thank you and travel safely.

Please continue to follow FetchYourNews for updated coverage of Winter Storm Inga.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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