Whitesburg KY
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Building of new vocational school may begin in July

Letcher County Public Schools Supt. Anna Craft told the Letcher County Board of Education at its meeting Monday night that construction on a new vocational and technical school at Ermine could begin as soon as July.

The 46,610-square-foot center will be located adjacent to Letcher County Central High School. The board approved awarding bids to 15 different businesses for the construction of the Letcher Area Vo-tech Center. Total cost of bids is $7,606,411.

Craft said with the bids coming within the budget, the board is able to get everything it wanted including a pedway that will connect the high school to the vo-tech center.

“We’re just real pleased that it all came in and we have the money to do it,” said Craft.

The board also approved a revision of a BG-1, signaling the beginning of the project.

“We’ve been talking to the past three governors on this,” said Board Chairman Will Smith. “It just didn’t happen overnight. This will be one of the best things we will have on high school hill.”

The Letcher County School District Finance Corporation, which includes the school board members, adopted a resolution to issue $4,560,000 of the principal amount of school building revenue bonds to provide funds to help pay for the construction of the vo-tech center.

Total cost of the construction project is $8,911,500. In addition to selling bonds, $1,000,000 comes from coal severance funds and $2,443,500 is from the General Assembly. The Education Foundation contributed $585,000, which was matched by state funding. From the sale of the old Kingdom Come Elementary School building, came $150,000. Cash investment earnings totaled $173,000.

The board approved paying $8,075.42 to Lynn Imaging for drawings of the vo-tech center.

Roger Martin, director of finance, presented a tentative budget, which he said was hard to project because the legislature has yet to approve a budget.

“Whatever it is going to be, it is not going to be pretty,” said Martin.

For the 2010-2011 school year, Martin has estimated a beginning balance of $2,785,000, the same he budgeted for the current school year.

“Basically it is a budget like I had back in January,” said Martin. “Whatever I presented, it wasn’t going to be right.”

Martin said preparing for the 2010-2011 budget reminded him of preparing budgets in the 1980s when nothing was certain. He said worst-case scenarios have been thought of and there have been some reductions in certified and classified staff .

The following 34 certified personnel received letters of non-renewal of contract letters for the 2010-2011 school year: Jessica Antonio, Denise Baker, Melissa Baker, Dionne Bates, Jamie Bates, Elizabeth A. Bentley, Ronald Tyler Bentley, Jennifer Boggs, Sonya Bowling, Jamison Braddock, Gabriel Burns, Donna Delport, Amanda Driskell, Jonathan Francis, Gina Hall, Kyra C. Henrickson, Brandon Garrett, Stephanie Gilbert, Larry Gibbs, Charles Brent Hall, Jacqueline Hall, David Hammonds, Brandon Johnson, Winston Lee, Amy McDougal, Jamie Napier, Christine Parrott, Jamela Pelfrey, Elizabeth A. Spangler, Cassie Stamper, Timothy Taylor, Carmella Webb, Lesley Whitaker and Malissa Young.

The following 25 classified personnel received letters of non-renewal of contract letters for the 2010 -2011 school year: Elizabeth Adams, Terri Bailey, William Banks, Bridget Begley, Olivia Blair, Chrystal Boggs, Malinda Boggs, Mattie Collins, Tammy Cook, Linda Craiger, Lisa Elkins, Sandra Ingram, Leslie Johnson, Brett Lewis, Frankie Martin, Nawonia Martin, Geraldine Miles, Larry Tyler Puckett, Michele Robinson, Melissa Shepherd, Adrienne Sturgill, Donna Sturgill, Megan Sumpter, Cyra Whitaker and Linda Yonts.

“That’s what we had to do,” said Martin. “We had to protect the financial security of the board.

Martin said the special education population continues to decrease. He said $357,000 was budgeted this school year for diesel fuel and $205,000 has been spent so far. Martin said $757,000 was budgeted for electricity and $680,000 has been spent.

“Next year at this time it will be really worse,” said Martin. “Our federal stimulus money will be used.”

Martin said the economy won’t change enough to make much of a diff erence.

In other business, Teresa Seals, whose grandson attends Fleming-Neon Elementary School, told the board she would like an archery teacher to be hired at FNES. She said the archery program has motivated students to do better in school. Seals said the school archery team placed 42nd in state competition last year and 19th this school year.

“They will wind up being state winners,” said Seals.

Board member John Spicer said the program teaches discipline as well as safety.

“We’ll see what we can do,” said Will Smith, chairman of the board.

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