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Jenkins board says district not joining Letcher

Any rumors Jenkins residents may hear concerning plans to close Jenkins Independent Schools and join with Letcher County Schools have no factual basis, according to the chairman of the Jenkins Board of Education.

Jenkins School Board Chairman Tracy Goff told the board at its October meeting that he wanted to take the opportunity to dispel rumors concerning closing the system. Goff said that since former Superintendent Freddy Bowling’s resignation in September, he has received a number of inquires about the future of the system and he wanted to make it very clear that the system is not only solid, but in the best shape it has been in years. Goff said there are definitely no plans for closing or for joining the county school system.

“In reference to people asking about a rumor that Jenkins will close and merge with the county system, closing is the only action that requires a unanimous (5-0) vote,” said Goff. He went on to say that it is extremely unlikely that a unanimous vote to close the system would come from the current board. Goff said that at this time, the system is on solid financial ground and is operating within a balanced budget, and said that the current state test scores, which named Jenkins as a Distinguished System, are the highest he has seen in his 15 years of service to the board.

“I don’t see a unanimous vote,” said Goff. “I want to make sure to dispel that rumor.”

Other than Goff ’s statement, the October meeting had a decidedly celebratory tone since the K-Prep test scores for the most recent tests have placed Jenkins well above any in recent years and Jenkins athletic teams have excelled as well. Elementary Principal Stacy Collier announced that the elementary school surpassed its 2015 goal with an overall score of 74.2, ranking as a Distinguished School in Kentucky. The score well exceeded the 2015 goal of 60.1. The middle school was ranked as Progressing/ Needs Improvement with a score of 63.9 (a 16.2 improvement over last year’s 47.7 total), and the high school had a score of 74.4, with a rank of Proficient. The total of the three schools was 70.8, which placed the system in the Distinguished grade. The system goal for 2015 was 59.1 and as a system, it ranked in the 90th percentile.

Collier announced that Burdine Elementary kindergarten teacher Anita Bolt has been named to the 2015 class of the University of Pikeville Distinguished Educators Hall of Fame. Bolt is a 30-year veteran of the Jenkins system and a 1968 graduate of Jenkins High.

Collier told the board that she considers Bolt to be a great teacher, who is “magical” in the classroom. Bolt told the board she is honored to accept the award and that she considers it a blessing to have been able to teach for 30 years in the Jenkins system.

Collier int roduced pre-school teacher Sarah Campbell to the board and praised Campbell for her fundraising efforts to purchase playground equipment for the pre-school students. Campbell has raised $2,400 of the $3,500 that is needed to purchase equipment that will be safe for the young students to use on the playground.

Finance Officer Candala Gibson reported that the general fund stood at $672,914.13 as of the end of September.

Goff also told the board he has concerns about the way the football field is being used. He said it has come to his attention that the local semipro football team has been conducting unauthorized practices at the field. The team was denied permission to use the field after the board’s attorney recommended that there be no outside use.

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