The Jay School Board took no action regarding extending Superintendent Kenneth Bridges' contract beyond the 2018-19 school year.

The decision came after the five board members spent approximately one hour in a closed executive session.

David Holcombe, board president, said the board's decision not to take a vote simply "acknowledges [Bridges] has a two-year contract."

When the board hired Bridges to begin serving as the superintendent, he was given a two-year contract from June 2016 to June 2019.

"The initial contract stays the same," Holcombe said.

No other reasons were presented during the meeting as to why the board did not vote on Bridges' contract. The action item on the agenda called to extend it for a third year, through the 2019-20 school year.

Other employment issues, board members heard an impassioned plea from Middle School instructor Lisa Wood, regarding a superintendent's grievance decision.

During her five minutes before the board, Wood spoke about the need for the district administrators to follow procedures. She also asked the board to reinstate the grievance she filed against a staff member at the Middle School, in regards to issues related to conduct and bullying.

Prior to the board meeting Bridges sent Wood a letter dismissing her claim.

Wood told the board she believed she was being targeted by administrators for filing the grievance, even though school policy dictates no action will be taken against someone who files a grievance. 

Reading from a two-page prepared statement, Wood told how she was treated by administrators, including Bridges and Middle School Principal Arlis Henengar, and that she was given a professional development plan and a reprimand, even though previous to the grievance - in September - she was given an excellent evaluation.

She asked the board to reconsider dropping the grievance, and asked that the reprimand and professional development plan be removed from her record.

The board declined to ask Wood any questions at the end of her statement.

Bridges did not make a statement to the board regarding the issue. He said on the advice of the district's council, he had no comment beyond recommending the board uphold his decision regarding the grievance.

Reading from what appeared to be a prepared statement, Arden Jackson suggested the board make a motion upholding Bridges' decision to drop the grievance.

Ashley Temple made the motion and Virgil Stump seconded it. The board voted four to one in favor of upholding Bridges' decision. Monte Rutherford, the outgoing board member was the only vote in favor reinstating the grievance.

Several family and friends, including Sharon Watson, a retired educator, attended the meeting in support of Wood.

"It's too bad that people won't listen to instances of intimidation," Watson said. "That's how I see what happened to Lisa. If it's not what happened, then why didn't the board have questions [for Wood]."

Other business

The board heard from district administrators regarding the happenings at the various campuses. 

Cassie Youngblood, elementary assistant principal, talked to the board members about the "Play It Safe" program, put on in the various classrooms by members of the Delaware County Children's Special Advocacy Network.

She told the board about plans administrators will take if the course is approved, including sending home permission slips to parents and hosting parent meetings.

The course discusses, in age appropriate terms and research, on what children can do in the event they are abused or someone they know is abused.

"In the society we live in, it's things they need to know today," Youngblood said.  

The board also voted 5 to 0 to decline Bridges' request for professional leave for AdvanceED Accreditation Team March 5 to 7 in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Bridges had been asked to serve on a team, as a non-compensated volunteer. The board did not discuss the issue before taking the vote.

The board also:

• decided to have Bud Simmons serve, once again, as the district's representative to the Grand Gateway Economic Development Association board of directors.

• to use Interquest Detection Canines to conduct drug searches within the district's buildings during the 2018-19 school.

• voted to increase the adult breakfast price to $3.25 beginning Jan. 16.

Editor's Note: The story has been corrected to indicate Lisa Wood is a Jay Middle School instructor, and Arlis Henengar is the middle school principal. Additionally the board did vote to increase the adult breakfast prices.