Whitesburg KY

Jenkins board again delays action on drug-testing policy

At its June meeting held Monday night, the Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education decided to defer conducting the first reading of the system’s proposed drug-testing policies and procedures until a called meeting, which will be held before the regular July meeting. Co-chairman Tracy Goff told the board he would prefer not to take any action on the testing policy until the entire board was present. Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. and board member Paul Stambaugh both missed the June meeting.

The drug-testing policy features random drug tests for all personnel except board members. There will be no violation for prescribed drugs but refusal to submit to a drug test will be considered insubordination and could be grounds for disciplinary measures including suspension or dismissal. Positive tests will also be grounds for disciplinary measures. Employees who test positive can undergo rehabilitation treatment at their own expense or through the insurance plan and will be eligible for reinstatement under conditions mandated in the policy.

Students will not be subject to random tests except for those who drive to school and park on campus and students who enter into a voluntary testing pool. Athletics and other extracurricular activities are not included in random drug testing. Students eligible for drug testing who refuse to submit to a test will be considered insubordinate and are subject to disciplinary action. Student drivers who test positive will not be allowed to drive from campus on the afternoon of the test and their parents or guardian will be contacted. If the “nonnegative” first test is confirmed by a second test on the same sample, the student will lose their parking privileges for six weeks. Subsequent positive tests will result in further loss of parking privileges up to a permanent restriction. Students who test positive from the volunteer pool will face no disciplinary action but will receive an assessment from the drug treatment counselor. The treatment option will then be up to the parent or guardian.

Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett, who has been instrumental in developing the policy, told the board 55 Kentucky counties have at least one school system with test policies that include student testing and that Jenkins is behind other systems in drug testing. Tackett also told the board he has worked closely with Board Attorney Tim Crawford and has made several changes suggested by Crawford. Superintendent John Shook asked that the special meeting be scheduled before the July regular board meeting so the second reading can be conducted in time for the policy to be implemented in the coming school year.

The spotlight shone on the Lady Cavs softball team in June. The Lady Cavs finished the season with a 20-13 record, won the 53rd District title, and went as far as the semi-final game of the 14th Region Tournament. Rachael Thacker and Emily Walker were both named Second Team All-State. Volunteer Coach Rick Damron told the board he believes if softball in Kentucky was broken up into classes based on school size like football and other sports, Jenkins would be very competitive on the statewide level. Dennis Thacker of Jenkins, said he believes the Lady Cav softball team has the best coaches in the state.

The board also heard a presentation from Kentucky Public Employees Deferred Compensation Authority about a possible 401K plan for school system employees. Charles Edwards and John Knausz described the program, which includes a match by the system for employees who join. Edwards told the board the school system is entirely in control of how the program will be administered and how the match will be handled as well. Superintendent Shook invited the two men back to a board meeting in the near future after the entire board has a chance to discuss the matter and to examine it more closely.

DPP Tackett told the board the average daily attendance for the 2006-2007 school year was slightly down, from 549.1 for 2005- 2006 to 528.6 in the past year. Tackett said average daily attendance in the system overall is 92.3 percent, with a 93.2 percent rate in the elementary schools and 91.4 percent in the middle high school. Tackett blamed the statistically large drop in attendance on a rash of students leaving school in the latter part of the second semester of the school year. Superintendent Shook said the middle high school went from 283 to 272 in a three-month period and told the board the loss of a few percentage points can make a large financial difference to a small system. Shook also pointed to the positive correlation between good attendance and high grades.

“Students who make honor role usually have high attendance,” said Shook. “There is a correlation. We need to figure this out as educators.”

In other board business: + The board gave Superinten- dent Shook permission to advertise for bids for soft drinks, fuel, and school pictures.

+ Bids will be advertised for the facilities improvement project on July 10 and will be opened on August 10. Superintendent Shook told the board that work will commence after school has started and except for roof repairs, most work will be done after school and on weekends.

+ Because of expanded need in both elementary schools and the middle high school, a special education position will need to be created to serve half-time in the middle high school and half in the elementary schools.

+ Technology Director Damien Johnson will begin moving school information from servers in the individual schools to a central district server. Superintendent Shook told the board he had received an e-mail from Acting Education Commissioner Kevin Nolan complimenting Jenkins Independent Schools on its technology plan, which he said has met all the state requirements and goals. Shook attributed this to Johnson’s hard work and leadership.

+ The board approved the purchase of District Insurance from the Kentucky School Boards Association.

+ The board approved hiring substitute teachers under emergency certification procedures for those substitute teachers without a degree but with at least 64 semester hours.

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