Dissenting five board members refuse to address concerns
For the second time in five days, five Grundy County School Board members refused to answer questions from their constituents.
On June 15, a workshop was held to address concerns of five board members regarding personnel. The workshop was scheduled before a special called board meeting to be held the following Monday to discuss Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey’s contract. The intent was to offer concerned community members an opportunity to voice their opinions and have board members state their concerns. However, the five board members who requested the special called meeting (Kasey Anderson, Chris Grooms, Chris Snyder, Rueben Newsome, and Greg Meeks) were not in attendance at the workshop.
Board Chairman Robert Foster opened the workshop for discussion and many in attendance voiced their support of Kinsey. Even more expressed concern that the five board members who requested the special called meeting were not present to hear their concerns or explain their reasons for calling the meeting.
A suggestion was made from the audience that the agenda for Monday’s meeting be adapted to allow comments from the audience before the board held any vote on personnel. Foster said he would take this request under consideration.
Upon arriving at Monday evening’s special called meeting, constituents were pleased to discover the meeting agenda had been changed to allow public comments before the vote. Foster later stated he had approximately 15 phone calls asking that public comments be placed on the agenda before the board discussed Kinsey’s contract.
“”I called the board attorney to ask if we could,” said Foster. “He said I could as long as the board approved (the agenda).”
Foster went on to say he felt compelled to let the people speak before the vote since it was “their money we are spending.”
After opening the special called meeting, Meeks took the microphone to address allegations he no longer lives in Grundy County. He stated he has sold his trailer and will be moving to Cannon County, but as of now, he continues to reside in the county.
But, when it came time to vote to approve the agenda, Anderson, Grooms, Snyder, Newsome, and Meeks voted no. Foster, Janie Layne, Gary Don Melton, and Paul Gallagher voted yes. With the board failing to approve the agenda (5-4), no meeting could be held.
Where does this leave the school system? As of press time, Kinsey remains as Director of Schools. If the dissenting five wish to address her contract again, they will be forced to start the process over again – requesting a special called meeting by letter to the board chairman. If requested, the chairman will schedule a meeting and give the public 15 days’ notice of the date of the meeting. However, with vacation schedules and other interruptions throughout the summer, one board member said it would be difficult to get a special called meeting in before the start of the school year.