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Letcher board still hoping field will be ready




NEW BOARD MEMBER -  Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright administered the oath of office to new Letcher County Board of Education Member John Spicer, left, at the board's March meeting this week. (Photo by Sally Barto)

NEW BOARD MEMBER – Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright administered the oath of office to new Letcher County Board of Education Member John Spicer, left, at the board’s March meeting this week. (Photo by Sally Barto)

The Letcher County Board of Education is still hopeful that construction of the new baseball field at Letcher County Central High School will be completed in time for the baseball team to use the field before the season ends in mid May.

“There shouldn’t be any reason why the players shouldn’t play one game on that field,” said Will Smith, chairman of the board, at Monday’s board meeting.

Terry Sturgill, assistant superintendent of the Letcher County School System, said a tremendous effort is being made to complete the field.

“Progress is hard to see right now because it is inside the dugouts and in the concession stand,” said Sturgill.

Sturgill said the wet wintry weather has delayed work on the field area.

“It is a three- to four- week process once field work gets started,” said Sturgill. “I think it is getting shakier every day. We just need to cross our fingers for some dry weather.”

The last home game is set for May 16, with 11 home games scheduled from May 1 to May 16.

Sturgill thinks the LCCHS baseball team might be able to play five or six games on the new field.

In other news, Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright swore in John Spicer as a new board member. Spicer will complete the term of Attwell Turner, who died in December.

“(Mr. Turner) had always been a good school person. He was doing a good job as a board member,” said Spicer. “And I just feel honored to be able to come in and fill in for him and hopefully I can do a good job. I’ve been here the last two meetings and I have been really impressed with the way the meetings are being conducted. I feel honored to be here.”

Kenneth Cornett, director of pupil personnel, said the seventh month of the school year was the lowest attendance month because of illnesses and snow. The district attendance rate was 87.9.

“I can’t ever remember it being that low before,” said Cornett.

Cornett said the attendance rate is starting to increase.

Peggy Wilcox, an instructional assistant in the Letcher County School System, asked the board to grant classified employees four association days to attend the Kentucky Education Association (KEA) Delegate Assembly scheduled for April 9 through 11 in Louisville. The conference is usually the same week as the school district’s spring break, but the conference is one week before this year’s spring break.

Wilcox is president of the Kentucky Educational Support Professional Association (KESPA) and a member of the state board of directors with KEA.

Darlene Campbell, a teacher at West Whitesburg Elementary School, was named employee of the month.

Kelly Hall, director of curriculum and instruction, said the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) testing window is set for April 21 through May 2.

Hall said the district’s number one testing goal is to not have any students score a novice.

Under the state’s assessment system, student performance is categorized with four levels: novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished, with distinguished being the highest level. Schools are expected to meet unique, overall goals every two years. The ultimate goal is for every school and district to reach proficiency or 100 on a 140-point scale by 2014.

The board also:

• approved the Letcher County Schools Strategic Plan.

The school system defines strategic planning as the process and discipline whereby an organization continually recreates itself toward an extraordinary purpose.

“It has been a good process for our school leaders to meet with community members and get outside eyes,” said Anna Craft, superintendent of the Letcher County Board of Education.

• waived the board policy revision addressing the March 1 deadline for notifying school councils of their staffing allocations for the 2008-2009 school year. The Kentucky Department of Education extended the deadline until May 1 for this year.

• approved the following use of school facilities: World Pro Wrestling, Inc. match at Fleming-Neon gymnasium on April 4; Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College class at a LCCHS classroom on Monday and Wednesday evenings; and a birthday party for Stacey Quillen at the LCCHS cafeteria on April 12.

• approved the following class trips: Martha Jane Potter Elementary School’s eighth-grade trip to Charleston, S.C.; LCCHS’s senior class trip to Washington D.C. and New York City; Beckham Bates Elementary School’s eighth-grade trip to Atlanta, Georgia; Letcher Elementary School’s eighth-grade trip to Chattanooga and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

• approved the 2008-2009 school calendar. School will begin for teachers on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 and the first day of school for students will be Monday, August 18.

• approved participating in the following state and federal programs for the 2008-2009 school year: Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, Title V, Homeless Grant, IDEA- Part B Basic, IDEA- Part B Preschool Project, Carl D. Perkins Vocational Act, Drugfree Schools and Communities (DFSC), Reading First Grant, Save the Children Program, Crisis Management Grant, Random Based Student Drug Testing Grant, PEP Grant, KERA Four Year Old “At Risk” Project, Kentucky Technology System, professional development, extended school services, textbooks, gifted and talented, reading grants, Community Education Grant, Adolescent Literacy Grant and a Service Learning Grant.

• authorized advertising for bids for the following items for the 2008-2009 school year: school pictures, soft drinks, athletic equipment, bus parts and supplies, electrical and plumbing maintenance materials, pest control, bread and bread products, milk and milk products, custodial supplies, maintenance services on refrigeration equipment, bus/ fleet insurance, snacks, blacktopping, block and stoker coal, carpentry/ masonry maintenance materials, HVAC/refrigeration maintenance materials, batteries, filters, other insurances, and service on alarms, clocks and intercoms.

• authorized advertising for bids for the following items for the 2008-2009 school year in cooperation with and through the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative: custodial supplies, instructional supplies, paper, school food service supplies and any other item KVEC will approve to bid.

“That has really been a saver on a lot of items,” said Craft.

• approved the Emergency Response Crisis Management Plan.

• approved submission of the Federal Safe Schools and Healthy Students grant application. If awarded to the school system, the grant would total $2.4 million.

• entered into a full maintenance agreement with D-C Elevator Co., Inc. to furnish complete maintenance on the elevators located at LCCHS for $200 a month.

• approved continuing a memorandum of agreement with the Kentucky Department of Education and Campbellsville University to establish an educational partnership focusing on increasing the number of highlyqualified special education teachers in Kentucky.

• approved a memorandum of agreement with Morehead State University and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College for implementation of the College Cadet Dual Credit program for the 2007-2008 school year at LCCHS.

• ratified approval for submission of the Partner School District Participation Commitment with the University of Kentucky and its partners in a project of the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership.

• approved the following payment of claims for services rendered for the construction of the new baseball field: Elliott Contracting, $169,533.

Roger Martin, finance officer said the board has about $611,000 left to pay on the construction of the baseball field.

• approved the February finance report, payment of bills and transfers, and payment of salaries for March 2008. Martin reported that there is $4,594,934.87 in the general ledger balance.

• approved employing White and Associates, PSC to audit the financial records of the general fund, chapter I, school activity funds, school lunchrooms, and any other funds required by statute for the 2007-2008 school year. The total amount for these services in $18,885.

• authorized notifying all teachers who are paid for extra services or extended employment for gifted and talented responsibilities, homebound responsibilities, extended school services responsibilities, Saturday school responsibilities, coaching positions, and any others not spelled out in the extra service schedule, that their salaries may be reduced beginning with the 2008-2009 school year by the amount compensated for extra duties or extended employment.

In the personnel report, Allen Rittenhouse, a bus driver at Letcher Elementary School, presented his retirement.

Smith made a motion at 8 p.m. to enter into executive session “for the purpose of discussing personnel and/or litigation.” The board came out of executive session at 8:36 p.m. Smith reported that no action was taken while in executive session.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 28.

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