By WILLIAM FARLEY
The Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education will begin the year with a new board chair and vice chair, and a full complement of members. At Monday’s meeting, longtime board member Eileen Sanders was elected chairman and Brenda DePriest was elected vice-chair. Appointed members Paulette Sexton and Chris Bentley were also sworn in. Both Sanders and DePriest are retired from the Jenkins system, Sanders as librarian and DePriest as a teacher. Sexton served during the last board term but did not seek re-election.
The board also voted to keep the date and time of meetings for the fourth Monday at 6 p.m. in the middle high school library. However Superintendent Mike Genton asked that the board consider scheduling two meetings at the Burdine campus. He said he would check with the Kentucky School Boards Association to see if it is all right to schedule them as regular meetings and bring what he learns to the next board meeting. The board also voted to have the December 2017 meeting on December 18, which will be the third Monday rather than the usual fourth Monday because the next Monday will be Christmas Day.
In other business, middle schoolers in the Jenkins system will soon be able to participate in baseball and compete with local and regional teams.
Shaun Collier, who is already active as a volunteer coach, approached the board and asked if it would authorize the creation of a middle school team and allow him to take the position of coach. Collier said he would donate the salary for the position back to the program for the purchase of equipment. Collier’s wife, Burdine Elementary Principal Stacy Collier, also said the players’ parents would gladly have fundraisers to help fund the program.
Superintendent Genton told the board he had no objection if it could be afforded, but said if there is to be a program, it must be done correctly and be on an equal basis with other athletic programs. Finance Officer Candala Gibson told the board that several funded positions in the athletics program have not been filled and there is money for it.
Collier said the team would help the high school team by funneling players in who had already learned the basics of baseball, and said he has worked with a “traveling team” of players of the same age group. He added that along with his father-inlaw, he has cleaned up the Jenkins baseball field in Joes Branch so games can take place there. Technology Director Damian Johnson, who also coaches youth teams, said he has worked with Collier in other sports and said that he and his father-in-law have done so much work on the field, it probably should be named for them. The board voted unanimously to authorize the position and create the coaching position.
In the Finance Report, Gibson told the board that the general fund stood at $829,366.53 as of the end of December She also said that the draft budget is underway, but added that she could not finalize it until complete tax receipts are in and the Kentucky SEEK (Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky) fund forecast is determined. She said she has set a contingency fund of $150,000 in the $3,443,040 budget and that utility taxes are projected as being down by $8,900 and property taxes down by $35,000.
In the middle high school report, high school Principal Eddie Whitaker reported that that the school held a banquet at Pine Mountain Grill to celebrate high attendance for the first semester, and that scholarship applications are underway. Whitaker said that two Jenkins students applied for Governor Scholarships, two applied for Robinson Scholarships, and several also applied for Rogers Scholarships. There will be four students who will participate in dual credit courses with the University of Pikeville this semester.
Stacy Collier told the board that Burdine Elementary students and teachers used Google Classroom during the recent snow days and said the response was excellent.