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Letcher schools off to peaceful start, officers tell school board



The Letcher County Board of Education was told Monday night that no fights have occurred amongst students at Letcher County Central High School this school year.

Scottie Billiter, assistant principal at LCCHS, said 11 students were charged with fighting during the first 45 days of the 2009-10 school year.

Bert Slone, a school resource office and deputy with the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department, said the highest number of assaults the last few years have involved freshmen. Slone and administrators have been talking with the last few freshman classes to decrease the number of fights that occur at the high school.

“It makes me so excited to have a school where we haven’t had a fight this year,” said Slone. “This is the most outstanding freshman class we have had at Letcher Central since I have been there.”

At the beginning of the school year a second school resource officer, Wade Adams, was hired so Slone and Adams could patrol the elementary schools as well as the high school.

Slone has also been working on ways to raise the attendance rate at the high school. So far this school year he has held 69 attendance conferences with students who are missing too many days of school. He has made 21 home visits to talk to parents and see why students aren’t in school. There have been two cases where students were ordered to go to school and one charge of truancy was filed. Five final notices of habitual truancy have been sent to parents.

The high school’s attendance rate, which is 93.63 percent, is up two percentage points from what it was at this time last year. Gary Caldwell, district finance officer, said a two percent increases equals $300,000 in allocations for the school district.

“If the kids are not in school, they are not learning,” said Will Smith, chairman of the board.

The district attendance rate is 95.03 percent.

In other business, a new hardwood floor was installed in the Whitesburg Middle School gymnasium after a hard summer rain caused water damage to the floor during a re-roofing project. The cost to remove the old floor and install, sand and finish the new floor is $49,700, which will be covered under insurance. Hedrick Hardwood Floors of London also paint- ed a logo and lettering on the floor and repaired and cleaned damaged bleacher seats at a cost of $1,800.

Roger Martin, director of state and federal projects, said padding behind the goals are worn, a new covering is needed for the floor and the gym needs to be painted.

“This really is a small price to pay to make that gym really top notch,” said Smith. “It’s a beautiful floor.”

The board also:

• named Jason Griffith, LCCHS band director as employee of the month.

• approved the following requests for use of school facilities: Martha Jane Potter Elementary School gymnasium during the 2010- 11 school year for Jack B Nimble Gymnastics; Arlie Boggs Elementary School Gymnasium for Tumble Tyme Gymnastics; and the LCCHS Auditorium on Oct. 24 for a Todd Agnew concert hosted by Whitesburg First Baptist Church and on Oct. 2 for a benefit gospel singing hosted by The Masters Harmony.

• approved the LCCHS cross country team’s request to participate in the state meet in Lexington on Nov. 12 and 13. The board also approved requests by the LCCHS band to participate in a band competition in Indianapolis Nov. 12 -14. Beckham Bates Elementary School’s eighth-grade class got the board’s permission to travel to Savannah, Georgia for its eighth-grade trip from May 31 until June 4.

• awarded the bid for gasoline and diesel fuel to Childers Oil Company based on the lowest bid received. The bid for lubricants and antifreeze was also awarded to Childers Oil Company. The bid for tires, tubes and tire retreading was awarded as a multiple bid to Perry County Tire and Parsley Tire.

• appointed Board Member John Spicer to serve on the Local Planning Committee that will be charged with developing a new facility plan for the school district.

• entered into an agreement with Jenkins Independent Schools to allow the county school district to provide alternative educational services to students in the Jenkins district.

• approved a one-year business agreement with Memory Book Company for yearbooks at West Whitesburg Elementary School.

• approved financial report, payment of bills and transfers and payment of salaries for Sept. 2010.

Caldwell said even though $12,683,387.24 is in the bank account, about $8 million is set aside to pay for construction of the Letcher County Area Technology Center.

• noted the promotion of Freddie Terry, a teacher at Arlie Boggs Elementary School, to the position of ABES principal. Stevie Sexton, a custodian at Beckham Bates Elementary School, is now a maintenance technician. The board also learned that Donna Howard has moved from the position of custodian at Cowan to instructional assistant at Beckham Bates Elementary; that Pamela Mays now works eight hours a day at Cowan as a custodian instead of four hours a day, and that Marcia Burton, an instructional assistant at Arlie Boggs Elementary, is now an instructional assistant at Cowan.

• accepted the resignations of Linda Bennett, a bus driver at West Whitesburg Elementary School, and Megan Sumpter, a literacy tutor at Arlie Boggs Elementary School.

• approved the hiring of Stephen Jent as a bus driver at WWES and Lillian Fields as a cook/baker at Cowan Elementary School.

• filled the following coaching vacancies: Darrell McBee will serve as coach for the East Letcher football team (fifth and sixth grades). Stephanie Roberts is the LCCHS assistant boys’ soccer coach. Colter Sumpter will serve as the academic coach at Arlie Boggs Elementary School and Brenda Mullins is the girls’ basketball coach at ABES.

The next board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 at the Letcher County school bus garage.


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