Wilson Board of Education defers cooperative agreement

Clinch-Powell is a cooperative chartered in 1971 in five Tennessee counties, which has now grown to include 20 counties. Davis said the cooperative has a large list of vendors that school systems can bid items to and receive more competitive prices.

Its not mandatory, you dont have to use it if you dont want to use it, Davis said, noting even if the board enters into an agreement with the co-op, they are not required to use its services.

Some members of the board were concerned the process would shut out local vendors that were not on the co-ops vendor list. Zone 3 Board Member Don Weathers said it would be beneficial for local vendors to register with the co-op and it would increase their exposure.

I want to make sure this is a fair process and an open process, said Zone 2 Board Member Bill Robinson.

He pointed out the request for sample bids from Clinch-Powell had not been made by Davis and said he wanted to use that information to get an idea how the co-op would benefit the school system, if at all.

The Clinch-Powell organization and the original five counties that established it, Scott, Claiborne, Hancock, Union and Granger, would receive a small finders fee on proceeds of items sold through the use of the cooperative.

Terry Acuff, executive director of Clinch-Powell, told the board that small percentage of proceeds benefits local schools in those five counties to help give them more funding.

The board deferred entering into the agreement with the co-op, and Acuff agreed to supply sample bids on 12 items for the board to see whether it would save money or benefit the schools in any way.

This is just another way for us to get bids for items for the lowest price, said Zone 1 Board Member Vicki Adkins.

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved an agreement with U.S. Community Credit Union to place an electronic sign outside of Mt. Juliet High School, giving the school system $15,000 to purchase the sign in exchange for the right to advertise on it.

Weathers said he wasnt comfortable with the agreement, but noted it was probably too far along to stop. He didnt like the idea of businesses having their names on school buildings, signs and school property.

Do we want to spend $45 million to build a brand new high school and have someone elses name on everything because they spent $5,000? Weathers asked.

Davis said the agreement was no different than the one with Wilson Bank & Trust, whose name is posted on signs for sports fields at local schools. Adkins said U.S. Community was the only local sponsor that would completely pay for the sign.

Its a win-win situation because thats $15,000 we can spend on an education system, Adkins said.

The board also passed two resolutions expressing their support for school districts keeping the right to establish their own school calendars and to continue having an appointed director of schools.

Davis said there was a move in the Tennessee General Assembly to pass legislation that would have the Tennessee Department of Education set a uniform calendar for schools across the state. The board also issued support of maintaining the appointed director of schools instead of changing to an elected directors position.

by Patrick Hall