Houston school officials move on after resignation

alopez@macon.comMarch 11, 2014 

Houston County school board member Skip Dawkins addresses the room Tuesday at the Board of Education office in Perry. Tuesday’s regular board meeting was the first since board member Dave McMahan resigned last month.

ANDRES DAVID LOPEZ — THE TELEGRAPH

PERRY -- Jim Maddox reflected on the empty chair across from him during Tuesday’s Houston County Board of Education meeting. He said he felt like he left his house without his cellphone.

“When you miss something, it doesn’t feel right,” said Maddox, District 6 at-large board member.

Tuesday was the first regular meeting since board member Dave McMahan’s resignation last month.

Maddox said having McMahan on the board was like having a “living history book” and recalled reviewing a recent contract change for a renovation project with him.

“I fear that if Dave had not been around, we probably would have made a bad decision,” Maddox said.

Maddox will not be running for re-election in May, and he said his decision was influenced by the health and stability of the board. Had he known earlier that McMahan would be leaving, he may have reconsidered, he said.

Board member Fred Wilson also took time during the meeting to express gratitude for McMahan’s service.

Despite the empty chair, the meeting, held at the school board office in Perry, ran smoothly. Board members passed all action items with unanimous votes, including a class size waiver resolution, a farm lease agreement and a revision of school policy outlining five-year rotations for employee background checks and fingerprinting.

Superintendent Robin Hines thanked Stephen Thublin, assistant superintendent of business and finance, for overseeing a financial audit of the system that recently came back free of issues.

After undergoing the yearly audit last fall, the superintendent and board chairwoman Marianne Melnick met with Thublin and the state auditor last week for a post-audit conference. The school district will receive a copy of the audit and make it available on its website, Thublin said.

“We are very proud of our results and really what our board and Dr. Hines have done since they’ve been in office,” Thublin said.

Melnick reminded the teachers, administrators, students and parents gathered that next week is School Board Appreciation Week in the state.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our past and present board members,” Melnick said.

To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 478-256-9751.

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