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March 8--  It took the Montgomery County school board two tries Monday night to decide how the school system would make-up two bad weather days experienced in January.

Superintendent Dr. Charles Warnock proposed the days be made-up on March 17th and 18th.  Montgomery County High School principal Luke Smith said those days would also help students prepare for graduation testing scheduled for the following week.  However, the measure died for lack of a second.

After a more than two hour executive session called to discuss personnel and litigation, the board reconvened and entertained a second motion regarding the make-up days.  In a 3-2 vote, the board voted to make-up the days on March 17th and 18th as originally proposed, but it also voted to eliminate a teacher post-planning day on May 26th to save money.  Board members Lendle Hamilton and Jackson Posey voted against the proposal.  Posey said he voted no because he didn't want to save money on the "backs of teachers."  Dr. Warnock estimates each day of school costs the system about $45,000 in salaries.

Meanwhile, the board approved some personnel changes which Warnock estimates will save about $30,000 in payroll.

The board approved reducing a payroll clerk's salary in the central office to $18,000 and transfer of the position to a school media center.  At the same time, a para-professional position in the media center was moved to the central office to serve as payroll clerk.

The board also reduced the pay of two book-keepers by 20 percent.

A proposal to offer retirement incentives to senior employees was also approved by the board even though Dr. Warnock said it may not be used.  He told the board the school system's financial position is "not as dire" as he originally thought.

The board has a called meeting set for Monday, March 21st at seven p.m.

Deadline Passes in Slander Suit 

The deadline for refiling of a slander suit against Montgomery County High School principal Luke Smith has passed.  Former high school teacher Christopher Bowman filed suit against Smith in 2008 claiming Smith gave slanderous information to school officials in Chattooga and Spalding counties where Bowman was seeking employment.

Bowman voluntarily dropped the suit last June without prejudice which meant it could be refiled within six months.

Bowman still has an active suit pending in federal court against the county school board and former school superintendent Dale Clark.  Attorneys say they are waiting for a decision on a motion for summary judgement in the case.