Jenkins Independent Schools has moved into the next phase of hiring a new superintendent.
After a closed meeting with the screening committee and a field consultant with the Kentucky School Boards Association, Board Chairman Tracy Goff reported that the committee has completed its task of providing acceptable candidates for the position. Goff said it is now be up to the board to consider the candidates and schedule interviews. He said the process is on schedule and he hoped to have a new superintendent by June.
The new superintendent will replace former Superintendent Freddie Bowling. After a short but successful term as superintendent, Bowling resigned last September to accept a position with Pike County Schools. When Bowling left, Eddie Whitaker, who had been hired as principal of Jenkins High School the previous June, stepped in as interim superintendent.
In other business, the board accepted new salary schedules for the next school year and there will be no pay increase for staff and faculty.
District Financial Officer Candala Gibson reported that the board’s general fund stood at $783,223.06 on April 30. Gibson said she was concerned that property tax receipts have been slow to come in and that there has been no report from the state on coal severance taxes yet. She said that both are usually in by now. Goff, an engineer who works primarily in mining, said that coal severance taxes are based on “mineability” as well as production, and that with the low prices for coal at this time a number of seams in eastern Kentucky are considered not mineable.
Interim JMHS Principal Thomas Pinion announced that graduation will be held in the Jenkins High School Gymnasium on Friday at 7 p.m. Thursday is the last day of school.
Elementary Principal Stacy Collier reported to the board about the elementary school’s Fifth Grade trip, which she said went well. Collier said the fifth graders went to Wonderworks in Johnson City, Tenn., and were scheduled to visit the NASCAR track at Bristol as well, but were rained out.
Superintendent Whitaker announced that Leslie Bryant has been hired as girls’ basketball coach.
Sherry Sexton, an energy management consultant with Kentucky Power, said the school district has saved $45,000 by participating in the power company’s energy management program. The program helps with energy savings measures and monitors usage. Sexton said she had written an energy plan for the system when it began participating and also made a spreadsheet of the last seven years of the district’s electric bills, showing where usage was particularly high.
Board Chairman Goff said he is well known by school officials to be an energy watchdog, and that he can’t count the times he has found gym lights and fans left on for an entire weekend in the past. Goff recommended that the board continue to participate in the program at an annual fee of $1,200. The vote to approve was unanimous.
Jeff Sutherland of the financial management firm Hilliard Lyons also visited the board concerning the district’s bond issue. Sutherland said the school system’s bond now carries an interest rate of 3.97, percent but that rate could be lowered to 1.85 percent if the board issues a new bond to pay the old one off. The board voted unanimously to issue a new bond. If the bond isn’t sold, the old rate would stay in effect. Sutherland said the board would save approximately $6,000 per year for an overall savings of $75,000 with the new issue.
The board also voted to accept a bid of $111,731.68 from Liberty Mutual for school insurance. Goff said the board will look at the specifics of Liberty Mutual’s terrorism insurance program for later consideration.