Western Brown residents continue arguments for Cooks

Two visitors at the Western Brown Local Board of Education’s April 19 meeting took the opportunity to speak on behalf of the district athletic director, Tim Cook.
At a special meeting held March 6, several members of the school district spoke, expressing their concerns regarding the decision to not renew the contracts of Cook and his wife Lilly. Lilly is assistant principal  at the middle school.
First to speak at the April 19 meeting was Angela Roberts, from the Bethel area.
“I’d like to thank the board for changing the place of the meeting to accommodate those with disabilities,” Roberts began, “I’m not going to renterate what I talked about at the last meeting, but there is supposed to be a two way communication between the board and people like myself, the staff, etc.
“If anyone disagreed with anything I said at the last meeting, they did not contact me about it.”
Roberts told the board that she was troubled by things written up in the board policy. She asked how board member Brian Rhodes obtained information that he had provided her with that was about Tim Cook.
Rhodes said it was given to him at a board meeting.
“There is a sunshine law, and actually something that outlines the fact that email and texting is not to be used when discussing things that come up in executive order,” Roberts said.
Roberts went on to talk about whether or not the board had considered any other alternative regarding Mr. Cook other than non-renewing his contract. She asked the board if any committees had been formed to discuss the Cook issue of retire/rehire.
Roberts said it bothers her that policy is not being followed by the board, because there is no specific policy in place. She wondered why this decision has to be set in stone and was concerned that policies should not be put in place after an issue arrives because it becomes policy made in prejudice. She also stated that it would be much cheaper for the school to bring the Cooks back.
Mike Midlam also spoke briefly at the meeting about all the great improvements that have been made to the athletic department at Western, which are directly or indirectly because of Tim Cook’s efforts and hard work. He said that Cook’s improvements to the program and his high standards have brought the school  to an all new level.
“There is no comparison  of our facilities to any other facility in the area,” Midlam said. “And that is all because of great leadership by our athletic director.”
In other business at the meeting, Superintendent Reagan White gave a legislative report updating the board on Senate Bill 199 and House Bill 49.
“SB 199, which was passed and signed by the governor in December, will expand the rights of certain individual to posess weapons on public school grounds,” White said. “We’ve heard a lot about this and the law became effective on March 21st. We will be reviewing policies to make sure we’re in compliance and regulation with those. Basically it will allow certain individuals to have a conceal and carry weapon in their personal locked up vehicle.”
White also talked about limits on college credit plus hours in the district. College credit plus students may only take 30 credit hours per year for a total of 120 hours in four years. Other classes will have to be paid for by the student.
“House Bill 49 is a bill for student funding,” White said. “I’m pretty sure the final amount will be a lot different from this preliminary amount.
“This bill will maintain the current dollar amount for fiscal year 2017 for the formula amount which is about $6,000 we receive for each student. The governor is however looking to make some cuts statewide.”
Following an executive session the board approved the following:
• Accepted the resignation of Lilly Cook, assistant principal, at the end of this school year with plans of returning next year to a teaching position;
• Approve a leave of absence for Ashley Colyer for the remainder of the year;
• Hire Mindy Pride as testing coordinator, Tony Bohrer as textbook manager and Harmon Sizemore as middle school assistant track coach;
• Approve several field trips.
The board scheduled a special meeting for May 11 at 7 p.m. at the district office to approve the graduating class of 2017.
The regular board of education meeting will be held on May 22 at 7 p.m. at the middle school to vote on contracts.