• Lebanon schools plans to build new elementary school

    By Matt Masters -

    The Lebanon Special School District Board of Education held its monthly board meeting Monday where it approved the contract renewal for Director of Schools Scott Benson, the adoption of next two school calendars and several items regarding bonds and financing to build a new elementary school.

    The board approved a resolution that declared the district will reimburse itself for certain expenditures relating to school improvement projects with proceeds of bonds issued by the district.

    It comes with the approval of a resolution of private act to amend terms of Chapter 330 of the 1901 Private Acts of Tennessee to issue bonds for financing of a planned new elementary school to not exceed $50 million.

    The approvals will move the process along to send the building of the new school along to the General Assembly.

    The board also approved the next school calendars, which will remain the same as previous years in regards to fall and spring breaks. Fall break will remain a two-week break, with the new one-week fall breaks implemented by Wilson County Schools to fall within the two-week break period. Spring break will align with the break approved by Wilson County Schools. Friendship Christian School officials previously said the private school will also keep its two-week fall break.

    The board unanimously renewed Benson’s contract after the board’s positive review. The board noted the district’s improved test scores and increased hiring. Benson earned $141,755 in salary last year, which was the 27th highest salary among directors of schools in the state.

    The board approved safety upgrade expenditures provided by the state for a total of $121,000, which will be used to upgrade safety measures at two different schools.

    The board also approved district surplus items, approval of the 2018 Local Education Agencies compliance report and an updated district five-year plan, which was originally implemented in 2015. The new plan will run through 2023.

    A teaching and learning update was given and touted improvements in literacy through the use of the Road to be Ready Coaching Network and the Read to be Ready summer grant, which have shown an increase in comprehension rates among students across the district.

    In Benson’s report, he said some teachers were recruited to work as bus aides to help with bus rides, and two planning meetings took place to discuss the planned new elementary school.

    The board also heard a presentation by Byars Dowdy Elementary School students, who told the board about their school’s new house system that divides students into different colored houses based on grades to help bring unity among the grade levels.

    The board also unveiled a banner to recognize the district as an exemplary district.

    The board will meet Dec. 10 at 5 p.m. at Winfree Bryant Middle School.

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