Members of the Jenkins Board of Education saw a different middle high school at their May meeting. Lockers have been removed and stacked in the hallways, tiles taken up, and signs of construction were everywhere.
With school out for the summer and no students in the buildings, workers from Trace Creek Construction are taking advantage of the empty buildings because the absence of students allows them to work longer, harder, and re-double their efforts to get the renovations at Jenkins Middle High School and Burdine Elementary completed before school starts in August.
Project Manager Mike Sparkman of Alt-32 Architects told the Jenkins school board that Trace Creek has completed about 25 percent of the project, and without having to keep noise and dust down for student safety, it can move at a faster pace. Work is ongoing on the first and second floors at the school and all the lockers have been removed. Sparkman said electronic access is being installed to control entrances and whirlpool baths are being added to the locker rooms, which are almost complete. He added that Trace Creek is managing the construction well and is slightly ahead of schedule.
Genton also told the board that a video that explains the funding arrangement for the building renovations, including from where the funds are coming, is now available on-line on the system’s website. It is also available on the Jenkins Independent Schools app at the iPhone app store or on Google Play. The app can be recognized by the Cavalier logo and is provided at no charge. Genton said the app gives news and provide notices about school activities and allows parents to connect with school portals.
The Jenkins Independent Schools finished the year with an average daily attendance of 92.19 percent and K-12 enrollment of 418. Director of Pupil Personnel Rondall Baker asked the board to make a change in the 2019-2020 calendar to accommodate small changes from the recent General Assembly session, but said the calendar still provides for the required hours of attendance, with 170 days for the coming school year.
The board voted to allow dual credit students at the University of Pikeville and the high school to drive their own cars to class when there is no Jenkins bus running on that day. Superintendent Mike Genton said the school board’s attorney had given his approval, but students could only drive if there was no transportation provided by the school system.
Middle- High School Principal Stacy Collier is also working on a Career Pathways Program with the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College branch of Kentucky Community and Technical College System at Whitesburg to allow students to take classes that will help prepare them for their chosen careers. She said she hopes to be able to institute a Criminal Justice Pathway program, and has been in contact with other colleges and hopes to have a Ready to Work Program to prepare students for future careers ready for next school year.
Superintendent Genton said he is trying to open up the schedule so more electives can be offered. He said the school will have to be flexible but he would like to see students have the opportunities to go beyond standard required course.
Jenkins Elementary School Principal Amanda Anderson reported that KPREP testing was successfully completed at the elementary campus and said the fifth-grade class went to Dollywood for its annual trip. The school year ended with $6,000 in the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) fund, and Anderson said the organization is planning to spend some of the money on new playground equipment.
Anderson praised her teachers and said she will work on curriculum over the summer break. She said she is trying to arrange a “Kinder Camp,” a camp for kindergarten-age students, at the Jenkins Public Library. Anderson said she plans to have a K-3 Reading Program at the school next semester.
The board voted to pass a tentative budget for next year of $3,782,789. District Finance Officer Candala Gibson told the board members she had not considered the Franchise Fee (property taxes) when she figured the budget because she is uncertain of the amount, and the spike in franchise last year was possibly a one-time thing. The board’s general fund stood at $880,815.65 at the end of April and with Gibson’s recommendation, the board voted to continue to contract with Cloyd and Associates of London, Kentucky at a rate of $11,600 per year to conduct the system’s audits for the next four years.