Whitesburg KY
Mostly clear
Mostly clear

Layoffs hit Jenkins schools

The Jenkins Independent School System is losing 13.5 full- and parttime positions because of state budget cuts, officials say.

The Jenkins Independent Board of Education learned in a special meeting Monday that jobs will have to be cut at each of the three schools in the system, as well as one administrative position.

Superintendent Debbie Watts described the process of reducing staff as “horrible,” but said the board is being forced to take the action after funding cuts mandated by the Kentucky General Assembly.

District Finance Officer Candala Gibson said that remaining classified staff will be deployed in as creative a manner as possible to minimize the loss and that faculty will be reshuffled to provide the best instruction for students.

After lengthy discussion, the board voted unanimously to discontinue the Director of Curriculum and Instruction position currently held by Jan Tackett of Jenkins.

Tackett’s job was eliminated after Board Vice-Chairman Tracy Goff stressed the importance of maintaining positions mandated by law such as Director of Pupil Personnel (DPP) and said that of the four central office positions, DPP, Director of Technology, Director of Federal Programs, and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, the Curriculum and Instruction position could be most easily absorbed into the duties of other central office personnel.

“Look at all the positions,” said Goff. “There are essential duties in order for us to do business. What are they and how many positions are necessary? Three of the four are necessities. We don’t have much of a choice. We have to look at Curriculum and Instruction.”

Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. said the number of positions in the board’s central office had grown gradually over the years. He said the Curriculum and Instruction position was established during the early years of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. He said the Federal Programs position was created through Title I reforms. Narramore said the Federal Programs Director handled an enormous amount of paperwork.

“We’re dealing with somebody’s job,” said Narramore. “Not a position.”

Board Member Eileen Sanders, a former school librarian with the Jenkins system, said the central office could not do its work with just two of the four positions. She stressed the importance of the Technology Director position, saying that technology coordinators in schools are classroom teachers with a full slate of duties as well. Sanders agreed that if a central office position had to be cut, Curriculum and Instruction was the most likely candidate.

The board also voted to reduce extended days for the coming school year as well as extra service days for faculty and staff. Band directors and coaches will only be able to use extended days for instructional camps.

In other business, Superintendent Watts presented the new facilities plan to the board. Watts said the draft plan had just come in that afternoon and she would like to get copies made and let board members examine it more closely before the next meeting. She stressed the need to get the plan on the state school board’s agenda for the May meeting.

Narramore expressed dissatisfaction with the board’s current architectural firm, which was responsible for the plan and was late getting it in.

Narramore said he believed the architects were not on top of the situation and expressed frustration with ongoing problems in recent upgrades to the schools. Watts added that the science lab at the middle high school is still not complete and there is no pro- pane for experiments.

Watts reported a good response from parents, teachers, and community members on the question of whether to continue the four day school week. She said that most still favor the four day week and do not favor the half-day off formerly used for planning. The discussion is ongoing.

The board also agreed to allow the Burdine Church of God of Prophecy to use the playground at Burdine Elementary School for an Easter egg hunt.

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