Manchester School Board Votes To Break Lease–Possible Employee Cuts Coming

city schoolsIn a split vote Monday night, Manchester Board of Education narrowly passed a motion essentially breaking the lease for the new administration building under the guidance of a high-profile education attorney.
The Manchester Times reports, the move comes shortly after board attorney Mark Williams, who also owns the property the board leased for three years, said that he would be unable to allow the system out of the three-year lease. Voting in favor of the action were board members Mike Lewis, Travis Hillis and Lisa Gregory. Opposed were Susan Wood and Susan Parsley.
Included in the approved motion was an addendum by Lewis that the system would be vacated by April 30 to give Williams time to lease the property.
Nashville attorney Charles W. “Chuck” Cagle, described as “Mr. Education Law in Tennessee,” advised that the lease would only be enforceable under the current budget, until June 30.
“In and of itself, the document is enforceable, [but] it’s the term of the lease that’s of question,” Cagle said.
Cagle explained that that the state Attorney General has offered the opinion, and it is understood by the state comptroller that, basically, in order to enter into a long-term lease, the city would have to agree to that liability because the school board is not a taxing authority.
Concerning the $1.2 million the board requested to be cut from the 2015-16 budget, Acting director Sandra Morris, who is filling in for Dr Keith Brewer who is on medical leave, summarized the proposed cuts as a reduction from 14 to 15 administrators to nine at central office. She added, secretaries and book keepers at the elementary schools would return to a 10-month, 10-day contract and the Westwood Middle bookkeeper will be on an 11-month contract.
Other personnel cuts could be one maintenance position, “some” contracted positions, one teacher aide and four teachers at Westwood Middle, one cafeteria monitor from each elementary school, a total of three teacher aides also from the elementary schools and one custodian.
Morris said that the principals would advise which teachers would be cut, and said that the decisions would be made after TCAP scores are in.