Whitesburg KY

Officials fail to show here

Others use forum to talk about vocational school

Representatives from Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s office were expected to present funding for construction of the proposed vocational technical building during a presentation at Letcher County Central High School on November 2.

A big check and representatives from the governor’s office were nowhere to be found at the assembly held in the LCCHS gymnasium Friday morning.

“Unfortunately they had a scheduling conflict. They anticipated being here,” said Anna Craft, superintendent of the Letcher County School System, during the program. “We elected to go ahead and talk about how we are going to get that money.”

Craft went on to tell the LCCHS student body that the assembly had a two-fold purpose.

“One is to discuss the importance of vocational education and to fill in that big hole – we intend to build a vocational school there. Also, to let you see how government works at all levels,” said Craft.

Craft briefly explained the different branches of government to the students. State Sen. Johnny Ray Turner talked about how a budget is formed while State Rep. Leslie Combs spoke about the importance of education and pleaded with students to help fight the drug epidemic.

“Everything in education is absolutely useless if we continue this drug epidemic,” said Combs.

Craft also took time to encourage the student body to register to vote when they turn 18 years old and to exercise their right to vote.

“If you don’t vote you have no right to complain about anything. It’s your right that determines the future. People in some countries have no voice and no right on anything. I encourage you to do that students,” said Craft.

Turner and Combs pledged their support in obtaining funding for the vocational school.

“This next session Rep. Leslie Combs and myself will work together to try to secure additional funding that it is going to take to finish the vocational school,” said Turner. “In the last two budget cycles we were able to obtain $2 million each year for a total of $4 million for the new vocational school here on campus of Letcher Central High School.”

“We will do anything we can to make this vocational school possible,” said Combs.

The Letcher County Vocational Technical Education Center is estimated to cost $8,480,500 for 48,460 square feet. Craft said the school district has secured $3.5 million.

At least $1 million has already been spent for site preparation. Terry Sturgill, assistant superintendent, said rock was shot up and removed back when the site was prepared for the construction of the high school. He said the dirt which now fills the space where the vocational school will be built could easily be removed in a week’s time before construction could start.

Barbara Ison, principal of the Letcher County Vocational School, said a new vocational school is greatly needed. She said there are 55 state-of-the-art centers across the state and that Letcher County students deserve one too.

She said the current classrooms are too small to hold a class of 22 students.

“Anna (Craft) and I started in 2002 working on a plan to have a technical school. The good thing is the site has already been prepared. When the funding is there we are ready to get started,” said Ison.

John Shook, superintendent of the Jenkins Independent School System, showed his support for the new vocational school.

“Not only will this be good for the students here at Letcher County Central, but also for our students at Jenkins,” said Shook.

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