Whitesburg KY

School board votes to leave ‘history’ in community

The Letcher County Board of Education approved moving all trophies, trophy cases and the old dinner bell from Kingdom Come Settlement School to the Gordon Fire Department.

Dorothy Cornett Collins, who lives at Linefork, told the board at Monday night’s meeting that because Kingdom Come Settlement school is closing, she, along with other members of the Linefork community, wants the memorabilia of the school to stay in the community.

“Let our history and momentos stay with us. They should stay together at Linefork,” said Collins.

Collins presented the board with a stack of petitions asking the board to move the memorabilia to the fire department.

Glen Cornett, a member of the Gordon Fire Department, said he wanted the memorabilia to be in the community for everyone to be able to see.

“These trophies and cases have a lot of history for our people. All of these momentos date a long time back,” said Cornett.

Terry Cornett, a board member, made a motion for the trophies, trophy cases, pictures, dinner bell, and other items to be moved to the Gordon Fire Department as soon as possible. The motion passed unanimously.

Gerald Hacker, a parent of a student who attends Whitesburg Middle School, addressed the board with concerns about handicapped accessibility at Letcher County Central High School.

Hacker said he addressed the board at the beginning of the school year and that he hadn’t seen much changes. He said his two main concerns are accessibility to the LCCHS football field and automatic buttons on the doors of the school.

James Slone, director of operations for the district, said plans are in place to install three sets of automatic door buttons to the school this summer.

“The architect had to give us some designs,” said Slone.

Hacker said his son will be a freshman at LCCHS next school year and is active in band. He is concerned that his son will have a hard time getting onto the football field.

“They can have handicapped ramps at the end of those bleachers,” said Hacker.

“We probably need to talk to the band directors and see how we can accommodate him,” said Will Smith, chairman of the board.

Roger Martin, finance officer for the district, said the district has a budget of $21,584,028 for the 2007-2008 school year. He said the district will end this school year with about $700,000.

He told the board that it will take a lot of money to pay the bond payment.

“It is going to take all of our capital outlay, building fund money and $62,000 of the general fund to make the bond payment for next year,” said Martin.

The board approved the tentative budget for the 2007-2008 school year.

Hillard Howard, director of drug prevention/safe schools, said 1,395 students were randomly tested for drugs from the nine schools in the district during the 2006-2007 school year. Four students from Letcher County Central High School tested positive for drugs. Howard said one student tested positive for marijuana, one tested positive for benzodiazephines and one student tested positive for benzodiazephines and marijuana.

“I don’t know of a family in eastern Kentucky that has not been affected by this drug thing,” said Howard.

Sturgill, board member Mike Harris, board attorney Darrell Hall and Howard demonstrated how the saliva drug test works.

In other news, Jewel Eldridge, a vision impaired instructor for Letcher and Martha Jane Potter Elementary schools, was named employee of the month.

Christian Baker, a student at Letcher County Central High School, won the state competition for National History Day on April 21 for his paper “The Mountain Eagle: It Still Screams”. At the district competition at Georgetown College, he won a $50 cash award for using a Kentucky history topic and won first place there as well, making him eligible for at least a $5,000 scholarship to Georgetown.

Kimberly Sergent, a teacher at LCCHS, asked for the board’s permission and support for her and Baker to attend the national competition at College Park, Maryland in June.

Darrell Douglas with Sherman-Carter-Barnhart Architects of Lexington presented plans to the board for a new baseball field to be located at Letcher County Central High School. The board looked at different designs including concession stands and dugouts. The field would have a turf infield, dirt around the bases, and grass in the outfield. Smith made a motion to proceed with the planning process of the baseball field.

In other news, Kenny Cornett, director of pupil personnel, said Beckham Bates Elementary School had the highest attendance rate for the month at 95.2 percent.

The board also:

+ accepted as a first reading proposed revisions to the policy dealing with student and community access to electronic media. The new auditing procedure includes a proxy server with monitoring and blocking software that is maintained at the district level on a twenty-four hours, seven days a week basis. The new policy says a specialized Internet content filter has been purchased and is blocking inappropriate Internet content based on selected categories of regularly updated lists of Internet sites. The new policy requires everyone to have an account and log in to use the Internet.

“It had been five years since it had been updated,” said Randy Bailey, who is in charge of technology for the district.

+ approved the award of bids for the following items for the 2007-2008 school year: bank depository, Whitaker Bank; student insurance, Roberts Insurance; school pictures, Best; refrigeration repairs, Banks Refrigeration; batteries and filters, Fleetpride; custodial supplies and HVAC materials, B.W.B. Enterprises; and paving, Mountain Enterprises.

+ approved amending the 2006-2007 school calendar to reflect the last day of school for students to be May 23 and the closing day for teachers to be May 24. Because Cowan Elementary School had to miss school for illnesses on April 26 and April 27, Cowan’s last day of school for students will be May 24 and the closing day for teachers will be May 25.

+ approved the 2007-2008 pay dates. The schedule reflects that all employees of the Letcher County school district will be paid on a two week. The dates are July 6, July 20, August 3, August 17, August 31, September 14, September 28, October 12, October 26, November 9, November 23, December 7, December 21, January 4, January 18, February 1, February 15, February 29, March 14, March 28, April 11, April 25, May 9, May 23, June 6, June 20, July 4, July 18, and August 1.

+ approved the 2007-2008 salary schedule for certified and classified employees. This incorporates $3,000 and two additional days into each cell on the certified salary scale and a 5 percent increase for each cell on the classified salary scale for the 2007-2008 school year as mandated by legislative action.

+ approved the extra service/ extra duty salary schedule for the 2007-2008 school year.

+ approved the substitute teacher salary schedule.

+ authorized an agreement between the Letcher County Board of Education and the Executive Department for Finance and Administration permitting the district to purchase for state price contracts.

+ authorized the submission of any applications or information necessary to qualify for state SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) funds for the 2007-2008 school year.

+ approved participating in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative bidding process for the 2007-2008 school year.

+ declared at least 300 old computers and monitors as surplus property. The board authorized the disposal of the surplus items.

“These are old computers we are getting rid of as we are putting in new computers,” said Bailey.

+ approved continuation of a lease agreement with the City of Whitesburg and Letcher County Parks and Recreation for the use of the tennis courts in Whitesburg by Letcher County Central High School.

+ entered into a contract with AVID to be implemented in the 2007-2008 school year at Arlie Boggs, Beckham Bates, Cowan, Fleming-Neon, Letcher, Martha Jane Potter elementary schools, Whitesburg Middle School and Letcher County Central High School. This program teaches students study skills and notetaking skills.

+ entered into a contract with the Challenger Learning Center of Hazard. Participation in the program will ensure that students will have the experience of a simulated space flight and teachers will be given professional development as part of the training. The fee for each mission is $500 for a sponsoring school district and $175 for each extended program for a total of $8,100 for the 2007-2008 school year.

+ ratified a contract with the East Kentucky Speech Language and Hearing Services located in Harlan to refer students for speech services.

+ approved signing a contract agreement with Unlawful Narcotics Investigation, Treatment, and Education, Inc. (UNITE) program to place a counselor to provide intervention services for students that are beginning to experience substance abuse problems and/or already experiencing problems related to substance abuse.

+ approved the award of bid of soft drinks for the 2007-2008 school year to Pepsi and Royal Crown Cola.

+ approved the award of bid for fruit drinks and water for the food service program for the 2007-2008 school year to Pepsi.

+ approved the following payment of claims for services rendered for the construction of Letcher County Central High School: Elliott Contracting, Inc., $1,877.12.

+ approved the following payment

of claims for the renovation project at West Whitesburg Elementary School: Elliott Contracting, Inc., $52,078.44.

+ approved submission of the BG-4 forms indicating substantial completion for the renovation project at West Whitesburg Elementary School.

+ approved the following payment of claims for the construction of an athletic field at Letcher Elementary School: Breeding’s Plumbing and Electric, $26,360. This project is funded with coal severance tax fund money and will be paid for through the Letcher County Fiscal Court. The board also approved a BG-4 for this project.

+ approved the financial report, payment of bills and transfers, and payment of salaries for May 2007. Roger Martin, finance officer for the district, reported the general ledger balance includes $3,812,192.28.

+ approved for the salary of a football coach at Arlie Boggs and Beckham Bates Elementary to be applied toward the transportation cost of Beckham Bates football players to participate in the sport at Fleming-Neon Elementary School and for the transportation cost of Arlie Boggs football players to participate at Cowan Elementary School.

+ accepted the retirements of Dexter Campbell, a teacher at Letcher County Central High School, and Robin Watko, an instructional assistant and lunchroom monitor at Whitesburg Middle School.

A motion was made at 10:25 p.m. to go into executive session for “the purpose of discussing litigation, personnel, and/or property.” A motion was made at 11 p.m. and Smith reported that no action was taken while in executive session.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on June 25 at the Lendell Smith Memorial Conference Room of the Letcher County school bus garage.

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