Whitesburg KY

Jenkins board moves forward with single-entity school plan

The Jenkins Independent Board of Education voted unanimously in a special meeting last week to begin the process of transforming the Jenkins schools into a single entity pre-school through 12th-grade school system.

Board Chairman Durward Narramore said the request for the change has already been approved by the Kentucky Board of Education and Vice Chairman Tracy Goff made a motion that the Jenkins, Burdine, and McRoberts elementary schools and Jenkins Middle- High School be abolished and reconfigured into a single entity which will be known as Jenkins Independent School. The board voted unanimously to approve Goff’s motion, which was made retroactive to Dec. 10.

“As a board, we have quite a bit of work ahead,” said Goff. “I suggest that we start as soon as possible and plan a meeting and work session for the conversion.”

Board Chair Durward Narramore told board members to check their schedules and be ready to set a date at the regular scheduled meeting which would be held at the McRoberts Elementary School campus on December 22.

The re-configuration of the system, which does not close any of the school buildings now in use, was suggested at the November board meeting by a team of education consultants headed by Frank Welch, retired superintendent of Pike County Schools, who has been hired to work with the Jenkins system to help raise test scores. Welch said he had asked the Site-Based Council to approve the changes to allow for students who are having difficulty with classes to be taken from regular classes for one-onone instruction, and to do away with the “novice” testing classification at Jenkins altogether. Welch also said he would like to see an ACT college test preparation class be started next semester and stressed the importance of ACT scores for college scholarships.

Superintendent Debbie Watts said the move will combine accountability among all three schools into a single entity rather than having each elementary, middle, and high school scrutinized individually. Although the current school structure with principals at both levels will be followed, the school system will now receive only one score on CATS testing and other end-ofcourse testing.

In other business at the special meeting held Dec. 19, the board voted to reschedule a hearing for former Jenkins Middle High School Principal Teresa Bentley. Bentley was demoted to grade school teacher in November and has requested a hearing to address the situation. The request to postpone was made by Mrs. Bentley’s attorney so he could gather information for the process. Narramore asked that the hearing be postponed until a date convenient to the board and Mrs. Bentley is reached.

The board meeting came after a short meeting of the Jenkins Educational Foundation which is also composed of board members. The meeting was held to change the foundation’s by-laws to accommodate a proposed leasing agreement for the district’s athletic fields. The lease of the football and baseball fields by the foundation to the school board was done to maintain the foundation’s tax exempt status and was placed on the agenda for the December 22 board meeting.

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