Longtime vice chairman Tracy Goff has been elected to serve a one-year term as chairman Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education. The board took the action Monday at its January meeting.
Goff replaces former chairman Durward Narramore Jr., who was defeated in his bid for re-election last November. The vote for Goff was unanimous. Eileen Sanders, a former librarian in the Jenkins system and a board veteran, was elected to serve as Vice Chair and Superintendent Freddie Bowling was chosen to serve as Board Secretary. The board also voted to continue to hold meetings on the fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. Two exceptions were made to accommodate holidays. The May meeting will be held on Thursday, May 26, and the December meeting will be held on Monday, December 21.
Letcher County District Court Judge Kevin Mullins, a graduate of Jenkins High School, attended the meeting to conduct the swearing in ceremony for newly elected member Sara Brown, and swore in Eileen Sanders and Brenda DePriest, who won re-election in November. Superintendent Bowling thanked Judge Mullins and announced that January is Board Appreciation Month. He said board members work hard and called them “servant leaders.”
“We are blessed to have such fine people to represent our schools,” said Bowling.
In other business, Elementary Principal Stacy Collier announced the results of participation by Jenkins Middle School students in the Governor’s Cup District Competition. The team placed second in Quick Recall, and won the Katherine Home Award for Sportsmanship. Individual participants include T.J. Thompson fifth place in math, and Jacob Bentley who placed fourth in math. Jacob Bentley placed fifth in science and T.J. Thompson placed fourth. Abigail Bentley placed fifth in social studies, and tied for fifth in composition. Jimmy Hall placed fourth in social studies and tied for fourth with teammate Miranda Milam in language arts. Miranda Milam also placed third in arts and humanities. Julie Kiser placed fourth in arts and humanities and tied for fifth in composition. and Makala Stambaugh tied for first place in composition.
Collier told the board that the elementary school academic team will begin competition soon and will wear green t-shirts in the competitions. Report cards have been sent out for the second time and teachers are making progress working with the Leadership Team. Peewee basketball will start next week at Burdine Elementary. Collier said more kids have signed up for basketball than at any time she can remember and registration is still open. The Letcher County Extension Office presented a “Dollars and Sense” program at the elementary school, in which third- and fourth-grade students were taught to budget money. WYMT Weatherman Brandon Robinson visited with second graders and their weather forecast is available for viewing on the “Burdine Buzz.”
Larry Helton, Stacy Collier’s father, visited the meeting and told the board that he and a group of volunteers are interested in working on some of the unused space at the Joes Branch baseball field to create one or two ball fields for T-Ball and for younger students to play baseball and feed into the high school team. Helton said the work will be done by volunteers and they will furnish the equipment. Bowling said he favors the plan but the Education Foundation will have to decide on leasing the property to the schools. The foundation met following the board meeting and approved renewing the lease for the property with the school system.
In a later conversation with The Mountain Eagle, Superintendent Bowling said that the renewal of the lease allows the project to go forward and that he is very pleased with it.
District Technology Coordinator Damian Johnson, who also coaches the middle school boys’ “C” Team basketball team, told the board that he was very proud of his team’s performance in district play, and added that in a small school it is sometimes better to judge a team’s performance by its improvement rather than in wins and losses.
Johnson said the boys beat the Letcher team to reach second place in district play, after losing to it twice.
“I’m proud of these boys,” said Johnson. “They put a lot of time and effort in.”
Superintendent Bowling reported that Doug Barnett has been hired for the computer tech position the board created at its December meeting. Technology Coordinator Damian Johnson said that Barnett has already made a big difference and has reduced his workload considerably. Barnett has worked at Perry County Schools and Hazard Independent and Johnson said he is highly motivated and capable.
Finance Officer Candala Gibson presented the draft budget for the coming school year to the board. Gibson said it includes a mandatory two percent pay raise and is still lower than last year’s, at $4.8 million. The budget was approved unanimously. Gibson also reported that as of December 31, the General Fund balance stood at $684, 555.62.
The board also discussed a possible location for the Junior-Senior Prom. Bowling said he has been informed that Pine Mountain Grill is not available and that Principal David Lee had suggested the Best Western in Wise, Va. However, Board Chairman Goff said that most of the parents he has spoken to have expressed a desire for the prom to be held locally, or in Letcher County if at all possible.
In other board business:
• The board voted to participate in a Kentucky School Boards effort to lobby for lower electricity rates for Kentucky schools.
• Superintendent Bowling announced that Vice Principal Serena Anderson has been appointed to the position of instructional supervisor, and that for now, the vice principal position will not be filled.
• The board voted to use the state reimbursement rate for mileage for travel reimbursement instead of the federal rate. The federal rate is 56 cents per mile and the state rate, which varies according to fuel price, is currently at 41 cents per mile.
• The board also voted to approve a stipend for a Gifted and Talented teacher.
• The board went into executive session to discuss the possibility of obtaining or disposing of property, and emerged with no action taken. Board Attorney Tim Crawford is working on the matter.