Whitesburg KY
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Jenkins school teachers, staff may get pay raises

Teachers and staff at Jenkins Independent Schools could receive a raise soon, said Jenkins Board of Education Chairman Durward Narramore Jr.

At the June meeting of the Jenkins School Board, Narramore said the district hasn’t been able to afford raises for several years, but if it is at all possible there will be raises this year, even if it is just by a few percent. In remarks he made at the close of the meeting, Narramore said he would like to see salaries at Jenkins be comparable to surrounding districts.

“It’s been a long time since anybody has had a raise,” said Narramore “If the state does something with funding, hopefully, we can make that happen. It’s not a promise, but I promise we will do our best.”

In other business, the board learned that preparations for the upcoming school year are ongoing and that staffing needs should be finalized within the next two weeks. Superintendent Deborah Watts told the board that test scores will be applied to the Comprehensive Plan, which will be done online this year along with Program Review and End of Course Testing information. Watts said the district will advertise for input from parents and interested parties.

Watts said central office personnel and school principals have been working on staffing and most people are in place now, and most hiring has been completed. She said some excellent people have been interviewed for open positions and the district should be fully staffed soon.

Watts also announced the resignation of McRoberts Principal Amanda Sturgill. She said she regrets losing Sturgill, who did an excellent job, but added that Sturgill has two small children and wants to return to classroom teaching.

District Financial Officer Candala Gibson told the board the General Fund stands at $364,233.38 and she said the district will finish the fiscal year ahead of budget. She added that the Food Service will finish the year in the black as well and the audit was to begin this week. Superintendent Watts praised Gibson and said she does a great job keeping the district on budget.

Band Director Heather Coombs showed the board the prototype of the new band uniforms and the board voted unanimously to approve the design. Coombs said band members will start fundraising to pay for the uniforms as soon as the new school year starts and added that band membership in high school and middle school, as well as grade school has increased. The estimate for 70 uniforms was $21,304 and $16,220 for 50.

Coombs told the board the Jenkins Band participated in the Kentucky Governor’s Inauguration Parade last year and also participates in local parades including the Jenkins Christmas Parade and the Mountain Heritage Festival Parade. She said she hopes to increase the marching band’s participation in other events and to take the concert band to the Concert Festival as well.

High School Principal David Lee told the board that janitors will start back July 5 and he will do a building inspection with them. Candala Gibson added that the heat exchange pump for the high school building HVAC unit is being rebuilt and will be in place by next week.

Superintendent Watts told the board that volunteers from The Good People Fund will be in McRoberts in July and will do a summer camp for local children. She said Good People will also bring food to the community and work to repair houses.

According to its mission statement, The Good People Fund responds to significant problems, including poverty, in the United States and Israel, and provides financial support, guidance and mentoring to charitable organizations. The Good People Fund is based in New Jersey and supports programs that work to alleviate hunger and poverty and work with elders, children, and veterans.

Principal Lee said he will start conducting meetings with parents of students from Grades 6-12 next week and said schedules should be complete soon. He added that some of the teachers are engaged in training and are working on the new Evaluation Model mandated by the state.

The board also voted unanimously to approve setting the criminal records check fee at $10. Board Chairman Narramore said volunteers will be responsible for their own fee.

Board Chairman Narramore said he has spoken to the board of the Little Shepherd Amphitheater and was told a request has been made to the Letcher County Fiscal Court for funding to pay for material and labor to replace the Cavalier mural that was painted over last year. Narramore said he hopes to see the logo in place by Jenkins Days in August.

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