Two months after it disappeared and despite promises that it would be repainted, the Cavalier mural is still missing from the bottom of an old railroad overpass located near Jenkins High School.
The mural was painted over by a Jenkins city council member at the request of an official with the nearby Little Shepherd Amphitheater. At the September meeting of the Jenkins Independent Board of Education, Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. said that other than being informed there is no money to pay for repainting the iconic mural in the Letcher County Parks and Recreation Fund, he has received no news about the Cavalier.
In other business, Superintendent Deborah Watts told the board that making the district’s diminished budget work will require constant attention. She also said she fears the possibility of further cuts in state allocations in the spring when the General Assembly meets.
Watts said the projected amount available in the district’s working budget is $3,565,384.65, a sharp drop from the $5.3 million budget submitted at the October 2010 board meeting. Watts said she fears that the current budget will fall victim to state cuts just as the 2010 budget did. She said the bulk of the expenditures lie with salaries, but added that participation in the National Food Service Program Community Eligibility Option, which allows every student to eat meals at school for no charge, has helped to save money.
Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett told the board that school nurses on the three campuses saw 1,481 students for a variety of ailments from August 19 through September 20, with a high of 775 visits at the Burdine Elementary Campus.
Burdine Principal Gracie Maggard told the board Burdine has seen several cases of strep throat. Tackett said the rate was high overall in the district, but particularly at Burdine. Overall district attendance stands at 93.13 percent with Grade Two having the highest attendance at 95.52 percent.
Tackett also reported that 12 student/parent conferences were held from August 19 through September 20 and 15 phone calls were made to parents concerning student absences. Ten court appearances resulted from truancies and legal charges were filed in three cases. Tackett told the board that depending on the age of students, charges for truancy could be filed on individual students if they are over 18, or strictly with parents if they are under 13. He said students can be charged as juveniles if they are over 13 but under 18, and that charges could result in anything from paying court costs or fines to jail time at the Breathitt County Juvenile Detention Center.
Tackett also said some students are referred to residential treatment and said he works daily with Letcher District Judge Kevin Mullins and Court Designated Worker Mike Watts on truancies.
Tackett also reported that ID badges for all school personnel are complete and are in use throughout the system. He said it is reassuring to students to see that everyone in their school is supposed to be there and said visitors are also issued ID badges when they come into a school. Tackett said bullying prevention programs and suicide prevention programs are also being implemented throughout the system.
Technology Director Damien Johnson and Tackett have worked together to provide used Apple eMac computers as rewards for students with perfect attendance, and Johnson said the computers are ready to go. Both principals said their students are excited about the possibility of receiving the computers.
In other business:
• board members learned the system received $54,865 in federal funding through the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Project.
• the board approved a request from Senior Sponsor Susan Rowland to allow for a probable four-day Senior Trip to Washington, D.C. during spring break. They modified Rowland’s request to impose a $200 fee per student, citing Rowland’s policy stating that no student would be denied the opportunity to take the trip and changing it to a request rather than a fee. Board Chairman Narramore said he felt if a fee was asked for, people would think it was mandatory and some students would feel they couldn’t afford to take the trip.
• the board voted unanimously to approve a new primary report card for the elementary schools. Superintendent Watts said the elementary principals had done a great deal of work on the cards and Principal Maggard told the board the new report card would allow for more detailed information to be transmitted to parents concerning their children’s progress.
• Narramore, who is President Elect of the Kentucky School Boards Association, announced a $2,500 scholarship KBA has implemented. The scholarship is for one male and one female senior student who will be the first in their respective families to go to college. Narramore said he hopes to find two seniors in the Jenkins system who are eligible to participate in the scholarships.
• Board Vice Chairman Tracy Goff praised the Jenkins Football Boosters for the work they have done at the football field. He said the work of the boosters have made a significant difference.