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School Board members ask for home telephone lines

April 18, 2001

School Board members ask for home telephone lines



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Two Washington County Board of Education members asked Tuesday that the school system pay for separate phone lines in their homes so they could use them for board-related purposes.

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School Board Vice President Bernadette Wagner and Roxanne Ober said the phone lines would keep their young children from listening to "irate" residents upset about School Board issues. They said the lines also would assist their professional development when they are unable to attend educational conferences by enabling them to talk to representatives of educational groups.

Wagner said she often uses her own phone for calls regarding education.

She said the money for the phone lines could come from the funds allocated to board members for educational conferences. She said that because she has five children, she would not be able to travel to all of the conferences.

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"I'm not just asking for myself, I'm asking for the consideration of all the board members," Wagner said.

Wagner estimated each phone line would cost about $240 a year. Other counties provide similar allocations for phone lines to their board members, she said.

Wagner and Ober also said they're concerned that their young children might hear inappropriate language from Washington County residents angry over certain school system issues.

Ober said that she doesn't allow her children to play messages on the answering machine so they don't hear anything unsuitable for children.

"I have received some irate phone calls," Wagner said.

The other School Board members didn't object to the requests from Wagner and Ober, but said they would not be interested in having additional phone lines installed in their homes.

School Board President J. Herbert Hardin discouraged anyone from using the phone line as a replacement for educational conferences.

"I would not want them to forego any additional development in lieu of that," Hardin said. "I would rather sacrifice my salary than give up my professional development."

School Board member Doris Nipps said she wouldn't mind as long as the line was used for business purposes only.

"If it is the opportunity to be used for their own personal use, then I believe that's another thing that needs to be considered," Nipps said.

"That sounds fair," School Board member Paul Bailey said.

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