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By Chris Cavanaugh
Contributing Writer 

Townsend, Fields Lock Horns Over Resolution

 

Last updated 5/13/2020 at 6:02pm

School Board Member Billy Townsend

It's the scope of Resolution 2019-2020-12 that matters to District One School Board Member Billy Townsend.

It reads: Temporary Suspension of School Board Policies During Certain Emergencies Until the Next Meeting of the School Board of Polk County.

As matters now stand, this resolution is voted upon at every school board meeting.

"That's a pretty big suspension, so I think it behooves us as elected officials just to vote on it each time because it's pretty extraordinary authority, and the public elected us to do oversight as school board members," Townsend said. "So I think we'll get into a good rhythm of having updates on a situation that's going to be fluid."

Expressing her exhaustion with voting on the resolution during each meeting, Kay Fields (District Five) made known her opposition.

"I don't understand why, because the Superintendent has been providing COVID-19 updates every week," said Fields. We've given direction to the Superintendent. She is responsible enough to know this is something that the Board agreed on, and I think it's basically micromanaging her duties as superintendent of schools."

The measure passed 6-1, with Fields opposing.

School Board member Kay Fields

Afterward, Townsend reiterated his belief that the resolution suspends the power of the Polk County School Board.

"I just want to have the ability to vote on that," he said.

In other matters, the School Board:

1) Approved an emergency resolution specific to hurricanes that allows the superintendent to "approve contracts, bid awards, and other financial documents" between the meetings of the Polk County School Board

2) Approved The Polk Education Association Teacher Salary and Contract Negotiations

3) Approved the 2020-21 School Year Calendar

4) Discussed the development of a new high school

5) Discussed terminating the lease of Haines City's Head Start Program to eventually move it to a school-owned property

 

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