Wilson County Schools attorney Mike Jennings continues to negotiate with insurance company Travelers over the district’s claims for Stoner Creek Elementary and West Wilson Middle schools, which were rendered unusable by the March 3 tornado.

Board Chairman Larry Tomlinson said last week that Jennings has been talking with Travelers and that he hopes a resolution is near. The board looked at potential designs for replacement schools on Jan. 28 and met in executive session for more than an hour during its Feb. 1 meeting. In between, Jennings, Tomlinson and other officials met with consultants and architects.

Tomlinson was leery of going into details, for fear of derailing negotiations.

“I know for a fact that the insurance company is following everything that’s being done and said locally,” he said. “We as a board need to be real careful with what we say and do while these negotiations are underway.”

The board voted at its January meeting to solicit bids to replace the schools, but that action has not taken place yet, Tomlinson said, pending a decision on what designs to use.

The board voted to go into recess at the end of Monday’s meeting instead of adjourning, so that Tomlinson could quickly reconvene the board when Jennings is ready to ask for a vote on a settlement.

In other action, the board discussed the search for a replacement for retiring Director of Schools Donna Wright. Several members indicated that input will be sought from the public, teachers, staff and administrators regarding what they would like to see in a new director.

A rough timeline provided by Deputy Director Rebecca Owens has an online survey posted to the district website and/or sent to employees, parents and other stakeholders by Friday. The deadline for applications is Friday. The board is scheduled to receive those applications on Feb. 16 and the survey results on Feb. 25. On or by March 1, the board is to have selected five finalists and interviews are set for March 25. On April 1, the board is to decide on the two finalists, with final interviews on April 12 and a vote on a new director April 29. The goal is to have someone on the job in May, so there is time for the new director to work with Wright before her last day on June 30.

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