The Letcher County Board of Education approved schools being in session during the first three days of spring break after the district has missed 12 days because of illness and inclement weather.
“We need every day before testing to teach,” said Letcher County Public Schools Supt. Anna Craft.
In addition to having class April 5–7, the board also approved being in session on Feb. 15, which is Presidents’ Day.
At the meeting held Jan. 25, Roger Martin, district finance offi cer, told the board that he can’t really forecast exactly what the budget will be for the next school year because the legislature has not approved the state budget yet. Martin said he is keeping up with this legislative session and hopes to know more by the end of February.
“Usually the draft budget is hard to do,” said Martin. “It’s impossible to do this year because the funding is just not what we hoped it to be. How it ends up we will just have to watch and see.”
Martin said the board did not purchase math books this year and hopes to be able to buy books next school year.
“Textbooks was the one that took the heavy hit,” said Martin. “I’m getting worried about textbooks. We don’t have any money to buy books.”
Martin said the textbook allocation in 2008-09 was $108,000 but was reduced to $77,000. This current year the textbook allocation was $11,000.
“The year is not over with yet,” said Martin. “If the state revenue was to take another nosedive we probably would be back with more reductions.”
Martin said the district has spent $100,00 on diesel fuel as of the end of December. Last year at the end of December the district had spent $127,000 on diesel. He has budgeted $350,000 for diesel fuel for the entire school year.
Martin said the district has spent $344,000 on electricity this school year while the district spent $340,000 up to this time last year.
Craft is concerned that Kentucky Power Company will be granted the 35-percent rate increase it has requested with the Public Service Commission.
“If they get that increase that is going to be such a blow to the school system,” said Craft. “I think that with the lawsuits that Pike County and Letcher County are considering and the open hearings and so forth, I’m hoping they won’t get the entire raise they have asked for. I am sure they are having some increases. People on fixed incomes, I don’t see how they’ll pay their power bills.”
Martin said a 35-percent increase would raise electricity bills to about $1 million for the school district.
In the personnel report, Letcher County Central High School Head Football Coach Hillard Howard, who is also the director of drug prevention and safe schools, is retiring at the end of June.
LCCHS guidance counselor Ramona Taylor is also retiring.
Kiley Hall, an instructional assistant II at LCCHS, resigned.
The board also:
• approved the presentation of the 2010-2011 draft budget.
• re-elected Will Smith as board chairman and Terry Cornett as vice chairman.
• approved Beckham Bates Elementary School to host a Scholastic Book Fair in March, with funds raised to be used to purchase new books for the library and to host a summer camp.
• approved a memorandum of agreement with the Brushy Fork Institute of Berea College for a $10,000 grant to create leadership classes for high school students.
• approved continuation of a service agreement with ASAP Consulting to provide onsite drug screening services from Jan. 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. The saliva screen on-site service is $23.50 each.
• approved board member Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. to serve as the Letcher County Board of Education Legislative Network representative.
• approved lease agreements for Xerox copiers at the school bus garage and central office.
• approved reappointing Linda F. Setzer as board secretary for 2010 at a rate of $5,000.
“She does a wonderful job for us and I can’t think of anyone else filling that position,” said Smith.
• named Sharon Meade, principal of Fleming-Neon Elementary School, as employee of the month.
• approved a proposed revision to a board policy concerning a student representative to the board. If a junior class officer is unable to hold the position then an underclassman will be considered.
“I think it would be a good thing to get student perspective,” said Craft.
• approved the Letcher County Central High School baseball team to host a men’s basketball tournament at Fleming-Neon Elementary School Feb. 27–28.
• submitted a continuation of Family Resource and Youth Services Center (FRYSC) grant applications for the 2010-2011 school year for Arlie Boggs, Beckham Bates, Fleming-Neon and Martha Jane Potter elementary schools as well as Whitesburg Middle School, Letcher County Central High School and the Letcher and Whitesburg areas.
• approved the purchase of local telephone service off of local tariff .
• approved the purchase of long distance service from Bell South for the 2010-2011 school year.
• approved the purchase of cellular phone service from Appalachian Wireless for the 2010-2011 school year.
• approved the financial report, payment of bills and transfers and payment of salaries for Jan. 2010.
Martin reported the general ledger balance as $5,389,419.58.
• approved the following regular board meeting dates for 2010 which will all be held at the Letcher County School Bus Garage at 6:30 p.m.: Feb. 15, March 22, April 26, May 24, June 28, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct, 25, Nov. 22 and Dec. 20.