Whitesburg KY

Jenkins board lowers property taxes

The Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education took the unusual step of lowering taxes in the Jenkins District at its September meeting. Superintendent Freddie Bowling told the board that he was pleased that the combination of higher property value assessments and the state’s recommended “compensation rate” of 77.7 cents per $100 would allow the district to maintain the same revenue as the previous year and still reduce taxes from 79.9 cents per $100 for real property. Bowling recommended that the board accept the compensating rate and the vote to approve his recommendation a unanimous. The board also voted unanimously to keep the current rate of 69 cents per $100 on motor vehicles.

Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. said he was pleased to be able to accept the lower rate and added that Jenkins was fortunate because a number of neighboring districts will be raising rates this year. He pointed toward Johnson County, which has traditionally had one of the lowest tax rates in the state, but like many eastern Kentucky systems, has fallen on hard times. At the Johnson County board meeting held Monday evening, the board raised taxes from 36.9 cents per $100 of real property to 56.6 cents, an increase of four percent. The Johnson County board also instituted an additional five cent tax that is “recallable,” meaning that it subject to recall within a specified period and can only be used for buildings.

Chairman Narramore signed the contract with Wise County, Va., Schools for the mutual cooperative agreement to allow Jenkins students to attend Wise County Vocational School. The contract became effective on July 1, but the two systems had to work out details from each state’s department of education. The Jenkins system will reimburse Wise County for the services its students receive at a rate of $35,000 per year.

Middle High School Principal David Lee praised the new voca- tional school cooperative agreement with Wise County Schools and said that the original group of participants has grown to 41 students who will take advantage of the 21 Career Paths offered by the Wise County Vocational School. Lee said the recent increase in attendance to 94.4 percent, as of September 19. is partly due to the improved attendance by vocational students. He said he is extremely pleased with the program and added that he would like to take the board on a tour to see the Jenkins students at work in the Wise County facility.

In other financial matters, The board approved a working budget of $6,646,334.24 for the 2014- 2015 school year. Finance Officer Candala Gibson submitted the budget to the board. Gibson also reported that the district’s General Fund stood at $727,127.50 as of the end of August. She also told the board that the auditors will be in on October 13 to work on next year’s audit.

The board honored Jenkins High School student Lexi Stambaugh, who recently tied for ninth place in the Kentucky State All-A Golf Tournament as an individual. Stambaugh played in six matches this year, won four, and placed second in another. She is also the 14th District All-A champion and will participate in the upcoming full (all schools) regional tournament.

In other board business:

• MHS Principal Lee introduced new Middle School Language Arts Teacher Jason Hampton to the board. Lee said the district is still looking for a high school Spanish teacher.

• Technology Coordinator Damian Johnson told the board that the new Wi-FI system is up and will be in operation in a few days. Johnson said there will be 58 access ports including two in the library and four in the gymnasium. He said there should be excellent converge in the middle high school and Burdine Elementary campuses for the state of the art system.

• The board discussed band uniforms, but Principal Lee said the cost of the uniforms is very high and is too much to bear at present. He said the ideal solution would be for a sponsor or sponsors to come together and pick up the cost of the uniforms.

• The board voted unanimously to accept the recommended participation fee of $125 for cheerleading. The fee includes the cost of the uniform, which the students will be able to keep. Bowling said sponsors are in place for students who cannot afford the fee.

• Board Member Eileen Sanders thanked Jenkins resident Paul Thompson for furnishing a new American flag for the football field.

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