The Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education held a rare holiday meeting on Labor Day that featured one member attending by videoconference and included setting tax rates and welcoming several new personnel.
After being forced to cancel its regular scheduled August 27 meeting because of technology issues, the board set new tax rates at its meeting that featured a rare reduction in property tax. The rate for real property was dropped from $.87 (87 cents) per $100 to $.844 (84.4 cents) per $100. The other two rates remained the same as last year, with the rate for personal property remaining at $.87 (87 cents) per $100 and motor vehicles at $.69 (69 cents) per $100. Board member Brenda DePriest was out of town and “attended” the meeting by using the Internet and her cell phone.
The board also welcomed Officer Jim Stephens of the Jenkins Police Force as the new resource officer. Stacy Collier, who was promoted from assistant elementary principal to middle high school principal, and Amanda Anderson, who replaced Collier as Burdine Elementary assistant principal, joined Stephens in their first board meeting in their new positions, although all three have served in their positions since the beginning of school.
Both Collier and Anderson expressed their satisfaction with Stephens’s performance so far and Stephens presented the board with a confidential emergency response plan that will be followed in the event of an emergency. Stephens said the Jenkins Police and Fire Departments also have copies of the plan as well as other agencies that may need to play a part. He also told the board that he was very pleased with the staff and the student body and attributed the behavior of the students to an outstanding group of teachers, staff, and administrators.
Stephens said he had looked into 10 complaints at the high school. made one mediation, and escorted one student home. He added that he had asked K-9 officers to do the first of what will become regular walkthroughs, and addressed minor behavior issues. The board will pay his salary and the City of Jenkins will provide equipment and a police car as well as paying his salary when school is not in session.
The board heard a report from School Nurse Lisa Collins concerning the new state immunization requirements. Collins said that because Jenkins had started school a week later than Letcher County schools and schools in neighboring counties, some providers were out of vaccines, but added that vaccinations are proceeding on schedule.
She said that a recent check on immunizations for Hepatitis A revealed that 108 students still need to be vaccinated. She added that Letcher County schools have set a cutoff date for students to be admitted to school without having their vaccinations up to date that will fall later this week. The board voted to set September 28 as the cutoff date for Jenkins students. After that, unless a student has an exception, such as a medical condition or a religious reason, he or she will not be admitted to school without proof of immunization.
Collins said she will attend a District Health Coordinators conference in Frankfort next week. She added that vaccine is now available at all local providers. Collins told the board that as of the meeting date of September 3, there had also been six cases of influenza reported in Letcher County.
In other business, the board approved a series of Building and Grounds improvement requests that will facilitate security and other improvements in schools on both campuses. Superintendent Mike Genton said that the architect had given the schools the option of having shatter resistant (bulletproof) glass in all lower floor windows in addition to the entrance area if the added expense was acceptable. Entry areas in both schools will have controlled access that will allow people in after school begins only after they have been cleared.
The total for the improvements will cost $1,266,787. Genton said state funds have been set aside for the work, although the bid for bulletproof glass is uncertain at this time. The board voted unanimously to approve all the Building and Ground requests as well as to pay the fee for architecture services to Lexington architectural firm Alt-32 of $13,844. The board also approved creating a position of Buildings and Ground director with a stipend of $2,500 annually.
The board voted unanimously to approve Genton’s request to create a mentoring program for new teachers. He said all teachers and administrators will participate in the program. The board also voted to approve a waiver to allow one student to drive his family car to Pikeville as a dual credit student for a science lab. A request from cheerleaders to allow for black undershirts in their uniforms was also approved.