On Friday, March 11, the weekly business meeting was called to order by Jim Blalock, President. Mary Brown gave the opening prayer. Gene Brown led the meeting attendees to take the Pledge of Allegiance. Bob Jones sang the manna prayer.
Jim thanked today’s BINGO sponsors: Eye Centers of Tennessee and Bilbrey Funeral Home.
Please contact Sunshine Lady Margaret Miller if you know of a member who is experiencing health issues.
Cumberland County Seniors now have a Facebook page. It is located at: 127 South Senior Citizens of Cumberland County. Consult us!
Jim updated everyone from the March 2022 Board Meeting held on the morning of March 11:
•The new automatic opening emergency doors will be installed the week of March 14 at the Seniors Centre.
•The senior center board approved the purchase of new laminate flooring to replace the existing carpet in the senior center. The Center will purchase the flooring now to set current prices and schedule installation after the 127-yard sale.
•The Senior Center is getting a popcorn machine for Movie Day. Thanks to Plateau Truck and Tractor for donating $200 and Crossville Flooring for donating $200 towards purchase.
•The Senior Center has a video projector for Movie Day. The Center will use its existing DVD player to connect to the video projector and sound system.
•The Senior Center is planning a “Sock Hop” on May 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. They will hire a DJ and sell hot dogs and soft drinks. There will be several “Cake Walks” during the event. Come and listen to your favorite songs from the 50s to the 80s.
•The senior center will procure an electronic sign for the front of the center. Plans are to announce upcoming events to passers-by on the highway. 127. The goal is to attract new members. This project is being considered for options/approval at a future Board meeting.
•The Senior Center will be replacing fluorescent lights with LED lights in the future. Several light fixtures need to be replaced now.
•The senior center is considering replacing the existing concrete slab and wooden ramp at the rear emergency exit door with an enlarged concrete slab and concrete ramp. This project is under consideration for later this year.
• The senior center board voted not to install wifi at the senior center.
Jim updated everyone on the upcoming Senior Center March 2022 events:
• The Senior Center organizes two match days each month on the second and fourth Tuesdays. Lunch is $5 when you sign up. You can pay for lunch when you come on game day. Be sure to register so the Center knows how much food to order/prepare. The next Game Day will take place on March 22 from 11 a.m. at 15h. Lunch will be pizza. Jim, Lucy Elmore and Sheila Johnson coordinate game days.
• The 2022 Cumberland County Senior Center Telephone Directory is now finalized. The new directory will be ready for distribution by April 1st.
•The Senior Center is still looking for a quilt as the grand prize for the 127 sales event. Linda Kondrach makes a quilt for the Senior Center. Thank you Linda!
• The Senior Center plans to add a movie day at the Center each month with free popcorn and drinks. Stay tuned for further updates
• The first bluegrass music event took place on March 10th of the 6th at 8 p.m. at the Center. A good crowd enjoyed some good old Bluegrass music. Join us every Thursday from 6-8pm for some good old Bluegrass music.
•The Senior Center is looking for ideas for future trips. Please submit your ideas to Sheila Johnson.
• Registrations for trips are available.
• Country Music is on the first and third Saturday of each month from 6-8 p.m.
• Line dancing takes place every Friday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
• Remember to register your Kroger Card Charity online as a Cumberland County senior.
•We are always looking for donations for the 127 Sale. It is planned to continue to offer breakfast and lunch to visitors during the 127 Yard Sale.
•Don’t forget to bring your aluminum cans so that the center can give them back for money. The Senior Center received $351 in February after recycling 2021 aluminum foil and aluminum can donations.
Today’s guest speakers were candidates for the Cumberland County Deeds Registry and School Board for Districts 5 and 7
The school board candidates shared their philosophy on how best to support Cumberland County schools and shared their priorities if elected to the school board. It’s all about the students. The main areas of interest discussed by the candidates included:
•Protection of children. Child sexual abuse is a real problem in Cumberland County. 70,000 children go missing each month in the United States. Human trafficking affects children in Cumberland County as much as children in other states across the country.
• Funding – to pay Cumberland County teachers and staff competitively, new and additional sources of funding should be considered, including property tax increases and having the State of Tennessee pay property taxes for lands he owns in Cumberland County. The state is the largest landowner in the county. Other options include other tax revenues such as use taxes.
• Stop Bullying – There is an epidemic of bullying in Cumberland County, as elsewhere in the United States. The use of social media has amplified children’s stress and bullying. Funds are needed for special programs to help bullied children.
•After School Programs — there is a direct correlation to reducing crime by giving children something productive to do after school. Provide tutoring so children can improve their math scores and learn simple budgeting and life skills. Give children something to do (a responsibility) to keep them engaged/challenged.
•Adolescent Center — there is a need for a facility where children can go after school to participate in productive activities. It could help reduce bullying, teen pregnancy and substance abuse in our children.
• Special programs for children with learning disabilities as well as programs for gifted students to challenge them.
Candidates for the Cumberland County School Board include Sheri Nichols and Nicholas Rummel, 3rd District; Randall Hopkins, 5th District; and Rebecca Hamby and Patricia Lewis, 7th District.
Trey Kerley is a nominee for the deed registry.
Following the candidate introductions, Theresa Boston, 8th District BOE Representative, shared some facts and figures regarding the school board’s budget:
•$58 million budget for Cumberland County Schools. Funding sources include Cumberland County property taxes ($18 million) as well as a portion of the Cumberland County sales tax. The rest of the funding comes from the State of Tennessee and the federal government.
•State and federal funding often includes specific guidelines on how funds are spent. Boston said the board has about 5% of the funding for non-mandated budget items.
• The State of Tennessee formula for calculating state support for each county is the Basic Education Program formula, which is approximately 30 years old. Governor Bill Lee introduced a budget using a new formula for calculating state support that the state legislature is considering. This new formula is expected to increase public education funding by $6 million to $9 million for Cumberland County schools.
• The state budget requires a teacher to increase each year within the approved budget. Cumberland County schools have about 100 more teachers than the state funding formula provides. The school system must match the pay increase for these teachers by taking money from elsewhere.
• It costs approximately $750,000 for a 1% raise for all teachers and staff in Cumberland County
• A salary study is underway to determine the target salary for bus drivers
•The county is struggling to attract/retain teachers and bus drivers at current salary levels. The county offers good benefits, but the younger generation is looking for better wages to support their families.
•Teachers are retiring faster than new teachers are graduating from college. Cumberland County schools must offer a competitive salary to attract new teachers and retain existing teachers.