Whitesburg KY

Board OK’s $1 million field

The Letcher County Board of Education has approved a plan to spend $1 million on the construction of a baseball field, concession stand and two dugouts at Letcher County Central High School.

Darrell Douglas, landscape architect with Sherman-Carter-Barnhart Architects of Lexington, told the board at its July meeting that the construction plans include a storage area and a restroom facility to be built into the home team dugout. The concession stand will include restrooms on both sides of the building, a scorekeeper’s area and storage area on the upper level of the concession stand.

The baseball field is to be built on land below the football field. Douglas said an access drive will be built to the lower level.

“We have two sets of stairs – one that connects from the road down to the baseball (field) and a set of stairs down from the field house parking lot down to the road,” said Douglas.

Douglas said the plans include natural turf for the entire baseball field.

“In order to make this a higher quality baseball field we have used the under drainage system – storm drainage – underneath the turf so we can keep the field flat,” said Douglas. Douglas said the drainage will be similar to the LCCHS football field and will be of high quality.

Board member Attwell Turner asked why grass was chosen instead of artificial turf for the baseball field.

Douglas said it was not a money issue.

“It was a design issue that we talked with the baseball coach and in order to get the outfield to a much flatter and a more professional field we wanted to use the money in a different manner. We wanted to use it for the storm drainage system under the turf,” said Douglas.

Anna Craft, superintendent of the Letcher County school system, said she spoke with the LCCHS baseball coach Brian Dean and he said he prefers natural turf to artificial turf.

“He said that those fields he had visited – those schools that had some artificial and natural – were not getting the best results because the materials were blending into each other and when you get that fake stuff over in that turf it was damaging it,” said Craft.

Douglas said his goal is to get the baseball field ready for play by the spring. In order to make this possible, Douglas said the six light poles, the concession building, and the concrete on the access road will be the last items on the list if the construction costs come in high.

The board approved submission of the baseball field to the Kentucky Department of Education Division of Facilities Management. The board also approved advertising for bids after approval is given from the Division of Facilities Management.

In other business, Roger Martin, finance officer for the district, told the board that he has received the district’s tax re-certification from the Kentucky Department of Education. Martin said the district received the recertification much sooner this year than last year.

“I think we need to get it as early as possible so we won’t have the fiscal court and the sheriff whining as much this year,” said Will Smith, chairman of the board.

Martin recommended increasing taxes on real estate by four percent, the maximum amount allowable under Kentucky law without being subject to recall by registered voters.

Martin is proposing a tax rate of 45.4 cents per $100 of real estate. Last year’s tax rate was 46.7 cents per $100 of real estate.

The tangible personal property tax rate of 50.5 cents per $100 will stay the same as last year.

The board will hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed tax rates at 6:30 p.m. on August 23.

Kelly Hall, director of curriculum and instruction for the district, reminded the board that August 3 will be opening day of the 2007-2008 school year for teachers and August 6 will be the first day of school for students.

In matters related to personnel, Suzette Sturgill, a teacher at Arlie Boggs Elementary School, was named employee of the month.

The board also learned that Kim King, assistant superintendent of instruction and student services, has been named superintendent of the Knott County school system.

“We’re very proud of her. We’re very happy for her but we are sad for us that she won’t be back with us,” said Craft.

Board member Terry Cornett said King will be a great asset to Knott County.

The board also:

• accepted a Save the Children grant in the amount of $450,000. Participants in the grant include Arlie Boggs, Cowan, Letcher and Beckham Bates elementary schools. The board approved establishing 21 positions to be funded from the grant. A district level coordinator III will be paid $37,000 per year. Four literary coordinators will be paid $12.12 an hour, four change coordinators will be paid $8.42 an hour and 12 literacy tutors will be paid $7.58 per hour.

• approved emergency policy for dress code for employees.

“Our policies had failed to include the dress code for our employees. Our policy and procedure committee has recommended that they have no less than what is required by our students,” said Craft.

• authorized advertising for bids for gasoline and diesel fuel, lubricants, antifreeze, tires, tubes and retreading.

• approved the following people to serve on a committee to annually update and review evaluation procedures of certified personnel: Kenneth Cornett, Tex Isaac, Stephen Boggs, Terry Sturgill, Cheryl Denise Caudill, James Slone, Bonita Pigman, Kimberly Sergent, Superintendent Craft, Regina Donour, Jan Caudill, Sandy Banks and Cecilia Lynn Bates.

• approved payment of dues to remain a National Affiliate of the National School Boards Association for the 2007-2008 school year at a cost of $3,700.

• approved increasing the student breakfast price from 90 cents to $1 and increasing the student lunch price from $1.25 to $1.50. Cora Sturgill, food service coordinator for the district, said the student food prices have not been increased in nine years.

Sturgill said transportation costs and other costs have increased making it difficult on food services.

“We about have to have an increase to be able to make it,” said Sturgill.

• approved participating in the Emergency Non-certified School Personnel Program.

• approved contractual services for the 2007-2008 school year with April Shepherd Morrell and Pamela Baker for speech therapy extra service contract beyond the regular school day.

• approved a contract with Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative to provide educational support services for Letcher County public schools. Memberships fees for the 2007- 2008 school year total $8,500.

• approved a contract with Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative to participate in the safe schools program for the 2007-2008 school year at a cost of $6,550.

• approved a contract with the Kentucky State Police for continuation of the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in Letcher County public schools at a cost of $600 per core class in the fourth and fifth grades.

• entered into a contract with Letcher-Knott-Leslie-Perry (LKLP) Head Start for the Letcher County Food Service Program to provide breakfast and lunches to the Colson LKLP Head Start Center.

• authorized signing an agreement with the Kentucky River District Health Department to provide limited school nursing services in Letcher County public schools for the 2007-2008 school year. The school district will contribute $5,000 per nurse.

• approved the financial report, payment of bills and transfers and payment of salaries. Roger Martin, finance officer for the district, reported that the general ledger balance contains $3,134,380.

• accepted the following retirements: Katherine Fields, a special education teacher at West Whitesburg Elementary School; Margie Watts, a secretary at Letcher County Central High School; and Robert Young, a music teacher at West Whitesburg Elementary School.

• accepted the following resignations: Dorothy Fields, library media specialist at West Whitesburg Middle School; James Polly, teacher at Whitesburg Middle School; Elizabeth Williams, special education teacher at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School; Thomas Tolliver, a bus driver at Fleming-Neon Elementary School; Kristie Akers, a bus driver at Letcher County Central High School; Marilyn Davis, a cook/baker at Letcher Elementary School; and Richard Cornett, a bus driver at Letcher County Central High School.

• eliminated the middle school boys’ softball coach extra service position at each school and established up to two district-wide middle school baseball coaches and up to two district-wide softball coaches at a pay of $1,500 each.

The board also approved payment of $1,250 to any current Letcher County board employee that successfully completes and receives National Certification status. This board order is retroactive to include any currently employed teacher that has already received his or her National Certification endorsement.

The next board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on August 27 at the school bus garage.

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