Whitesburg KY

Letcher board seeks equality on overnight trips

The chairman of the Letcher County Board of Education is concerned that a board policy limits the amount of days students stay overnight on eighth-grade trips while other school groups take lengthier trips.

The Cowan Elementary School dance team’s to travel to Orlando, Fla., on March 30 to perform at Disney World has been approved by the board. The group will return to Letcher County on April 4.

“ In our school policy our eighth- grade trip is shortened to two days, one night,” said Robert Kiser, board chairman, during the board meeting on Nov. 25. “Then we are getting a request for another grade school group to be gone for a full week. I have no issue with that, but I think your eighth-grade trip should be more than one night if you are going to allow a dance team or for that matter an archery team or any other school organization like that to be gone for that amount of time.”

Supt. Tony Sergent said that three years ago the board approved a policy to gradually reduce the number of days spent overnight during an eighth-grade trip in order to make fundraising efforts fair for all schools in the district.

“Some people were staying three nights, four days,” said Sergent. “It is a lot of fundraising for one trip. It just takes so much money to go anymore.”

The policy takes effect this school year.

“There’s some inconsistency there,” said Sergent. “That may be something we need to discuss.”

Board member Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. said the dance team trip and eighth-grade trips aren’t comparable like apples to apples.

“I’m not opposed to the kids getting to take the trip, but I think you are sending the wrong message to the rest of the kids,” said Kiser.

Sergent said the dance team has raised $9,800.

“They are well on their way to getting their funding,” said Sergent.

In other business, the board approved a trip to Nashville, Tenn., for Letcher County Central High School girls’ basketball team from Dec. 26–30 to compete in a tournament.

LCCHS girls’ basketball coach Dickie Adams has already submitted a request for his team to travel to Bowling Green on March 12 to compete in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tournament. The board approved Adams’s request. Adams also submitted his request early last school year when his team won the regional tournament and advanced to the state tournament.

The board also:

• approved a nonresident student contract with Harlan County Schools for the 2013–2014 school year.

• approved a memorandum of understanding with the University of Pikeville to provide student teachers in Letcher County Public Schools.

• approved the following final applications for payment of claims for construction of a softball field, tennis courts and a golf green at LCCHS: Dixie Roofing, $3,461; Cregger Company, $929.69; and Plumbers Supply Co., $149.41.

• approved the financial report presented by Brian Johnson, district finance officer. Johnson told the board that the bank balance on Oct. 31 was $ 3,044,344.63, of which $230,521.94 is in a construction fund. The board also approved payment of bills, transfers and payment of October salaries.

• learned of the classifi ed resignation of Tiffany Reedy, an instructional assistant II and bus monitor at Letcher Elementary School.

• learned of the hiring of the following classified employees: Michele Caudill, an instructional assistant I; Joshua Harrison, a bus driver at LCCHS; and Jennifer Quillen, a cook/ baker at West Whitesburg Elementary School.

• learned of the following classified transfers: Kevin Fields, a former custodian at WWES, is now a bus driver at Fleming- Neon Middle School; and Donna Hash, a former cook/baker at FNMS, is now a custodian and lunch monitor, at FNMS.

The board went into closed session at 7:27 p.m. under authorization of KRS 61.810 to discuss an individual employee and litigation involving Michelle Murphey, who claims she was seriously injured during a visit to Cowan Elementary School on Sept. 10, 2012. Murphey claims she slipped and fell “on a wet substance believed to be water”, according to court documents. She is represented by Whitesburg attorney Daniel Dotson.

The board came out of executive session at 8:25 p.m. and Kiser said no action was taken while in closed session.

The next board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 in the Lendell Smith Memorial Room of the Letcher County School Bus Garage.

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