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Cameras, computers are missing

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WCSB to require greater accountability
Wilson County School District is missing $49,296.54 worth of assets from several of its schools. And no, there is no reported burglary or theft involved.

Each year, the Wilson County School Board requires each school to complete an inventory of all the equipment and furniture it claimed on the previous year's inventory, plus any newly-purchased equipment. The report was presented to the board at its regular meeting Monday, Oct. 6.

This year, while nine of the schools were able to account for all of their equipment, the other 10 had items which have disappeared over the last year.

The lowest total of missing items reported was at MAP Academy, where the value of the only two items missing at the school totaled $807. Mt. Juliet Middle School had the highest total, reporting 28 missing items including computers, digital cameras, a video camera, a chalkboard and a spotlight, for a total of $21,768.28.

Both Tuckers Crossroads Elementary ($1,226.59 in missing items) and Watertown High School ($1,104.10) had only two missing items, but all three of the other high schools had high totals.

Lebanon High School is missing five computers and two projectors for a total of $6,119.63. Wilson Central is missing computer equipment, two GPS systems and a printer for a total of $5,258.47. Mt. Juliet High School lost six electronic items for a total of $4,709.85.

Watertown Elementary reported lost equipment worth $3,356; West Elementary lost $2,988.63 worth of school equipment; and West Wilson Middle School lost $1,957.99 worth.

The board members voted to have Director of Schools Donna Wright develop a policy to create accountability for the items with the employees who had them checked out.

"We have been talking about this problem for 10 years, but there is no accountability for missing assets," said board member Don Weathers. "I don't lose my laptop, because if I do, I have to pay for it."

Weathers then made the motion requesting Wright to deal with the issue and report back to the board at its scheduled work session on Oct. 21.

Board member Bill Robinson agreed. "I was a teacher for 37 years," he said. "We had to do inventory three or four times a year. You might lose an eraser or a few little things, but not like this."

The board members also voted to defer accepting the list to allow Wright to talk to the principals at the schools about trying one more time to find the lost items.

"This is taxpayer money," Wright agreed. "And we need to take care of it." Likewise, Board Chair Larry Tomlinson said, "There need to be consequences."

Volunteer mentors needed
Wright told the board that most Wilson County seniors are applying for Tennessee Promise, a new state program that allows students to attend community colleges at no cost for two years.

Out of 1,200 seniors, "830 have applied for post-secondary programs so far," she said. But the real problem, Wright added, is finding enough mentors to help the students get through the application process.

"We need at least one mentor for every five students," she said. The program will match students with adult mentors who are being recruited through tnAchieves to work with them.

The volunteers will invest 10 to 15 hours over one year to helping students get paperwork filled out and turned in on time to qualify for the program.

To become a mentor, you must be over 21 and apply at www.tnachieves.org by Nov. 1, or contact Graham Thomas at 615-604-1306.

Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@yahoo.com.

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