Whitesburg KY

Jenkins High School seniors to visit Orlando for class trip

Seniors at Jenkins High School will stay at the House of Mouse in Orlando on their senior trip, visit Universal Studios, and take a day trip to the beach.

At the October meeting of the Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education, Senior Sponsor Brian Bentley told the board travel plans are set and that the trip is already funded. He said this year’s senior class has worked on fundraising for several years and the trip is secure. Bentley said that unless the students can come up with $11,000 to charter a bus, the class will probably have to take a school bus for the trip.

For reasons of security and convenience, the students will stay at the Disney World resort in Orlando and whatever travel they do outside Disney World will originate from there. The resort has a number of accommodations in several themed varieties, and transportation within the park is convenient. Bentley said that after exploring other options, the committee decided that staying in the resort was best.

Jenkins Superintendent Mike Genton said that although it will strain the bus schedule to supply a bus and two drivers for the trip, the board can do that. Legal requirements restrict the number of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel, which will make a second driver necessary. He added that the good news is the seniors will be able to take the newest bus in the fleet, which is air-conditioned. The seniors will leave on Sunday, March 29, and return to Jenkins on Friday, April 3. The board voted unanimously to approve the trip.

In other business, Superintendent Genton brought the results of his study on bus drivers’ pay for surrounding schools to the board. Genton said that the current rates of driver pay in the Jenkins System are competitive with other districts, but they topped out for annual increases after six years. He suggested a new structure that would provide annual hourly rate increases for drivers starting with $13.11 per hour for the first year and rise to $18.76 after fifteen years. He also suggested a 50-cents per hour across-the-board raise beginning next school year. The board voted to approve the plan.

The board heard a report from Mike Sparkman of Alt 32 Architects of Lexington in regard to the recent renovations done on both campuses. Sparkman told the board he is pleased with the work done by Trace Creek Construction, and after a few small details are taken care of, the final check sheets should be complete.

The Jenkins Lady Cav cross country team competed on Saturday at the state cross country meet at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The 2019 Kentucky ACT Comparisons showed that Jenkins High School was one of eight high schools in Kentucky to improve its composite scores by one point or more. Jenkins’ scores rose from 16.8 to 17.9.

District Finance Officer Candala Gibson reported that the General Fund stands at $696,346.62. Gibson reported that the SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) funding calculation has decreased to a little over $100,000. The board voted to approve a pay rate for tutors of $25 per hour for classified personnel.

The board also voted unanimously to enter into a maintenance contract with DeBra-Kuempel Mechanical and Electric of Cincinnati for refrigeration and HVAC maintenance services. Genton said the $4,500 annual contract will provide the school system with regular maintenance inspections and service, and immediate response for repairs.

The board voted to approve a Memorandum of Understanding for Mental Health Services with Mountain Comprehensive Health Care of Whitesburg. Genton said that sometimes students need to talk to somebody, and MCHC has professional staff for that purpose. He added that he will look into adult services for staff.

The board approved adopting Eastern Kentucky University’s Summer Reading Program. Genton said the program is conducted at local libraries during summer months at no cost, and offers reading programs for young people.

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