The Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education voted to advertise for bids to dispose of the old McRoberts Elementary School as surplus property at it March meeting. The board voted to declare the school surplus at its February meeting and Monday evening, the members voted to declare everything that school workers have not removed from the building as surplus along with the school and property.
Board Attorney Tim Crawford told the board it can accept sealed bids for the school that will be subject to the approval of the Kentucky Board of Education and added that the board will need to get fair market value for the property, but does not necessarily have to accept the highest bid if it is uncertain that the high bidder can actually come up with the purchase price.
The advertisement for bids will appear in this week’s Mountain Eagle. Technology Director Damian Johnson and Director of Pupil Personnel Rondall Baker told the board that the building is close to being completely cleaned out and what is left in the building will be of no use to the system.
In other business, a final date for the end of the Jenkins Independent School year is not set in stone, but DPP Rondall Baker told the Board of Education that if there is no action by the state legislature and no more school days are missed, the tentative date is for the last day is June 10. However, that date is uncertain because the Kentucky General Assembly has yet to decide if it will forgive some or all of the days many schools around the state missed due to the extreme winter weather.
Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. said he understood that there were different bills in the House of Representatives and Senate to address the missed days, and that neither house had approved the bill from the other legislative body. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo yesterday said he hoped to have something concrete soon, but a report in the Tuesday Lexington Herald-Leader stated that the plans had fallen apart. Superintendent Deborah Watts said she is very concerned about being able to set the date for last day of school and get the graduation date set, but the board cannot set a graduation date that falls before the last day of school.
District Finance Director Candala Gibson said the general fund balance stood at $769,276.84 at the end of February, which she said was about 58 percent of the total budget. Gibson said the school finances are running according to schedule. Board Chair Narramore added that the Jenkins system has been awarded another round of funding in the Read To Achieve grant.
DPP Baker reported that the attendance as of the March board meeting is slightly higher than last month, standing at 92.46. Baker told the board that Monday was the 116th day of the school year and that Jenkins students had missed 28 school days because of the bad weather. Superintendent Watts said there are concerns about testing with the high number of days missed, but the end of grade tests will be held in the last weeks of school and the staff will make every effort to prepare students for the testing.
Technology Director Johnson reported that every school in the state will get an upgrade in broadband capacity through the state Board of Education, and the Jenkins system will be upgraded to 25 MPS. He said new cable will be run and everything should be in place by mid May. Johnson also said he has filed the “E-Rate Request,” which pays for the district’s internet and television bills.
The board received a request from Shane Holbrook for use of the Jenkins gymnasium for a semi-pro basketball team. High School Principal David Lee told Holbrook that he has nothing personal against the team, but that allowing outside organizations to use school facilities is not something he would recommend. Board Attorney Crawford and Chairman Narramore said they had only received the application that evening, and would take it under consideration.
The Burdine Elementary School academic team won the Quick Recall competition in the district competition, and was fourth overall in the regional, with only eight students competing the Burdine side. The middle high school has made a plan for every student to improve who has not placed at proficient or above on state testing, and teachers have been attending network trainings in social studies and science. Principal Lee asked the board to approve a senior trip to Atlanta for April 15-17. He added that he wants to take the junior class to the Barter Theatre, and the board approved both requests.
The board approved Lee’s request to continue to participate in the Odyssey Online program. Lee said the Jenkins system had participated in a pilot program with Odyssey this year and had received a discount rate. He recommended that the system participate in the coming school year as well. The system can get 30 seats for $18,000. This means that 30 students at a time can be online at any time to conduct the lessons in the program. He added that it will be used in summer school.
In other board business:
• Board Chairman Narramore introduced Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens and praised Stephens for his ongoing involvement with the schools and students.