Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times The Macon County Board of Education approved new teaching positions for Central Elementary, Fairlane Elementary, Lafayette Elementary and Red Boiling Springs Elementary at their Monday meeting in order to manage class size. Pictured: board member Bryan Nichols (left) and board chair Jeff Harper.

Ethan Steinquest/Macon County Times

The Macon County Board of Education approved new teaching positions for Central Elementary, Fairlane Elementary, Lafayette Elementary and Red Boiling Springs Elementary at their Monday meeting in order to manage class size.

Pictured: board member Bryan Nichols (left) and board chair Jeff Harper.

The Macon County Board of Education approved seven new teaching positions for the upcoming school year in response to projected growth during its meeting held on Monday evening.

Central Elementary (two teachers), Fairlane Elementary (two teachers and a Title I teacher's assistant), Lafayette Elementary (one teacher) and Red Boiling Springs Elementary (one teacher) are the schools that will be searching for new educators.

"There are some other positions that may be needed at the high school ... non-teaching positions we'll be looking at in June," Macon County Director of Schools Tony Boles said. "I'd like for the principals and I to be able to interview when school's out, that way we don't have to wait until after June when the good teacher candidates may have signed a contract somewhere else."

As county schools see growing registration figures, the new positions are expected to keep class sizes consistent with state regulations.

"Any (students) we lose (throughout the year), we gain in other ones we didn't know were coming," Fairlane Principal Carroll Gunter said. "Last year, we registered 185 students on pre-registration day, and we started the school year with 237 kindergarteners."

Red Boiling Springs Elementary School Principal Michael Owens said that reduced class sizes will impact several areas outside the classroom as well.

"Our computer lab only has 25 spaces, so we've got to get out Chromebooks for three or four students," Owens said. "Our gym's not big enough for 28 students to do physical education, and the library's not either ... all the pullouts have a lot of problems."

Owens added that discipline has been an issue at the fifth-grade level and hopes that a smaller class size would help teachers manage it.

During its work session on May 2, the board also affirmed its support for a new Macon County High School policy that will see any students found breaking into or vandalizing the school building banned from participating in any graduation activities, including walking in the ceremony.

MCHS Principal B.J. West implemented the policy amid concerns about senior pranks' impact on the building itself and the time and resources of school staff.

"The past couple of years, (senior pranks) are advancing to a stage where we feel like something really needs to be done," West said. "There needs to be some teeth to the punishment to hold them accountable on the front end so they know what's coming if they do it."

In addition, school-system employees found allowing students to access the building for those purposes will be suspended without pay for three days due to insubordination.

West named last year's senior prank as a major contributing factor in his decision, noting the time school staff spent cleaning paint and glitter before they could begin classes.

"The environment was so unsafe that we had to hold the students in the cafeteria and auditorium for most of first block," West said. "If you'd have seen the staff last year in the condition they were in when (cleanup) was over with ... (custodian/manager) J.W. (Greanead) looked like he was in a war zone. It's a very disheartening memory to look back on."

The board approved the following items on the agenda:

Old business

• Discussed bids for the Macon County Junior High School gymnasium floor renovations

New business

• Approved a resolution for bus driver Doyle Bartley

• Approved advancement for teachers to professional license

• Approved general purpose budget amendment for the 2018-19 school year

• Approved athletic trainer contract with Macon Community Hospital for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved the Interquest Detection Canines contract for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved fundraiser request for Macon County High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

• Approved to make a donation to the Macon County High School FCCLA for the organization's 2019 national leadership conference ($5,500)

• Approved to make a donation to the imagination library for the 2018-19 school year ($7,000)

• Approved to advertise for bids for resurfacing the gymnasium floor and for purchasing new bleachers at Westside Elementary School

• Approved to advertise for bids for diesel fuel for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise bids for bus driver physicals for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for alcohol and drug screenings for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for fire and safety equipment for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for Westside propane for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for pest control for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for a vision specialist for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for occupational therapy/physical therapy for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for technology equipment for the 2019-20 school year

• Approved to advertise for bids for technology contracts for the 2019-20 school year