BOE Chairman Tate Scolds John Q Public



Bill Marcus (Loudon) (L), Lisa Russell (Greenback) Joan Lovelace, Adm., Asst., Director Wayne Honeycutt, Leroy Tate-center (Phil.), Scotty Newman (Loudon) Gary Ubben (Eaton), Steve Harrelson, Craig Simon and Larry Proaps (R far left with beard)


By: Pat Hunter

February 5, 2009


The School Board workshop meeting was supposed to start at 6:30 PM but the public had to wait 30  minutes while the School Board and VIPs finished up their meal at the Loudon High School. To add insult to injury, shortly after the meeting started, School Board Chairman Leroy Tate gave John Q Public a tongue lashing for not following proper protocol or channels. Tate seemed perturbed to learn about a pending Fire Marshal inspection on life safety issues.  


During School Facilities Coordinator David Hemelright roof report, BOE Maintenance Committee Chairperson Lisa Russell asked if he had received an email from Principal Joey Breedlove about the Greenback Gym leak; which one, he replied. Hemelright commented that he requested that school principals turn in all roof leaks.


Russell also spoke about water leaks at Loudon Elementary School and she mentioned that an electrical inspection was scheduled for Tues., Feb. 3 and asked if he was aware of an upcoming inspection by the State Fire Marshal's office. There was water standing in light fixtures. Hemelright was not aware of the pending inspection. He seemed to be aware of water leaks and light fixture issues, which were observed by the State Fire Marshall's office at a recent follow-up inspection. Water standing in a light fixture is a fire safety and liability issue, not to be ignored. Hemelright acknowledged leaks at the school as he gave his report, as well as, in the gym. Some gym leaks dated back to when Loudon Elementary School was built.   


Chairman Leroy Tate mentioned that he didnít know how these inspections were coming about! Why was Tate upset about a potential fire hazard that went ignored? Why would he vent his disapproval at the public when it sounds like someone dropped the ball on fixing this problem?


If the roof had been repaired would water be sitting in a light fixture, Mr. Tate?     


John Q Public was supposed to talk to school and county personnel (Wayne Honeycutt, Gill Luttrell, Dave Hemelright or Leo Bradshaw) and anything outside of that was not the right way to go about these issues.


Tate's message to John Q Public, anyone that has concerns or reservations should go through proper channels and follow protocol.


When personnel don't follow through, what recourse does the public have when it comes to protecting a students safety despite Leroy Tate's patronizing comments?   





Budget Committee & Director Wayne Honeycutt - July 28, 2008


Click to watch video clip 6 Months Later still no roofs


Last July 28, 2008, school director Wayne Honeycutt went before the Loudon County Budget Committee to address questions about roofs for three schools. He gestured with his hands that he didn't not to wait till next spring or summer (2009). Three schools were identified with serious roof issues. The worse of roof problems were identified at Philadelphia School (cafeteria leaks) Loudon Elementary School (recent cafeteria leaks) and Loudon High School. The installation of roofs would not be disruptive to school. Mayor Arp's personnel and school staff made great strides and worked well on putting the project together and moving forward.


If you say you're going to do it, we expect you to do it, that's it, commented D-1 Commissioner Nancy Marcus.


Two of the three schools with serious roof issues are located in District 1. Commissioner Marcus's spouse Bill Marcus serves on the Loudon County Board of Education, District 1.


Just in case Director Honeycutt hasn't heard, Groundhog Day came and went and an early spring is just around the corner but yet no permanent roof repairs at the three schools. In the interim, public funds were spent on an emergency basis to  try to take care of roof leaks.


The school roof issue was also discussed at the July 28, 2008, Capital Project Committee meeting. The three school roof repairs would be part of Phase 1. Next spring (2009) would start Phase 2 of roofs if needed with Greenback School coming last since roofs were in good shape. Commissioner David Meers, Principal of Highland Park Elementary School, mentioned that there were several rooms with severe leaks at his school, which he felt should be addressed in the near future. He had spoken to a roofer who felt that his roof had been installed improperly. Parents have complained about mold issues at Highland Park School but Meers didn't bring up the mold issue, which is associated with dampness.


The roof issue has been hashed and re-hashed by the School Board, School Director Honeycutt, Capital Projects Committee, Budget Committee, Commissioners and Mayor Doyle Arp.


How many times have we heard School Board members say that the School Director runs the school system?


Maintenance issues have dominated school board meetings for years with little satisfaction. Taxpayers received a tax hike in property taxes so more money could be allocated for schools. Some have followed protocol and informed those in charge of problems, to no avail!


Small issues manifest into other more serious issues; when roofs don't get fixed and water enters the structure, this creates other issues and problems. Water damage may lead to serious structure issues. Water and moisture may create mold and health issues and student and teacher absenteeism. Water in light fixtures may create a fire hazard and a host of other problems, which were ALL preventable.


The word "expeditiously" was used when it came to roof repairs so why are we still talking about roofing issues some 6-months later and still no permanent roof repairs? Maintenance issues are overseen by the Mayor's office and School Director Honeycutt's office and its time to quit passing the buck!