Whitesburg KY

School opening is set back 55 days

The county’s new vocational and technical school building won’t be ready for occupancy before next October, members of the Letcher County Board of Education have learned.

Chris Russell, project manager at Winchester-based Codell Construction, said August 2011 was the original completion date for the Letcher County Area Technology Center before builders found an absence of solid rock at the back right corner of the construction site. The problem has been fixed with aggregate piers (also called stone columns) which cost the school district about $89,000 to install while also pushing the project back 55 days.

Terry Sturgill, director of special projects for the school district, said the substantial completion date, which means the date the building can be occupied, for the $9 million building is now set for the third or fourth week in October. The final completion date of the 49,186-square-foot center will be in November.

“We’ll just stay on schedule and try to pick up a few days,” said Russell.

The two-story building is being constructed beside Letcher County Central High School at Ermine.

In other school board business:

• Sturgill said enrollment in the county school district has grown by about 150 students this year. Arlie Boggs Elementary School had the highest attendance rate for the third month of school with 94.23 percent. The district’s attendance rate for the school year so far is 93.57 percent.

• The board learned of the resignation of Linda Setzer, who has served as school board secretary for the last 16 years. She will be replaced by Glenda Coleman.

Remarking that Coleman has “got some mighty big shoes to fill,” Supt. Anna Craft said. Craft added that Setzer “has a great wealth of knowledge. If she doesn’t know it, she knows someone who does.”

• the board named Hilda Burns, a teacher at Cowan Elementary School, as the district’s employee of the month.

• the board approved a request by the Letcher County Central High School girls’ basketball team to participate in a tournaments in Corbin (Dec. 18-Dec. 20) and Mt. Sterling (Dec. 28- Dec. 30).

• the board approved requests for eighth-grade trips by Arlie Boggs Elementary School to Washington D.C. (May 7-May 11) and Fleming-Neon Elementary School to Atlanta, Ga. (May 12-May 14).

• the board accepted $36,612 in an offer of assistance from the schools facilities construction commission. The board must equally match the funds for the district to be eligible for the assistance, which will be used for the technology department.

• the board voted to reimburse the LCCHS boys’ and girls’ cross country teams up to $1,000 in expenses for the cost of trips to state-level competition.

The board also:

• continued a memorandum of agreement with Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative for random drug testing with ASAP Consulting to provide onsite drug screening services.

• ratified the memorandum of agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the Service Learning Grant to fund training for teachers. The maximum amount of the grant is $5,500.

• approved payment of claims for services for the construction of the Letcher Area Technology Center: WD Construction LLC, $47,779.74; Mountain Aggregates, $104,170.45; Alliance Corporation, $13,590; Pine Mountain Stone Inc., $6,982.10; Elliott Contracting Inc., $6,417; Elliott Supply and Glass, $13,169.40; and Codell Construction, $7,439. Also approved was an interim pay request for WD Construction LLC for $89,222.60. The payment can’t be released until it is approved by the Kentucky Department of Education.

• approved the financial report, payment of claims, transfers and salaries for November. Gary Caldwell, district finance officer, reported a bank balance of $11,105,634.13. Caldwell said $7,751,176.69 of that is for a construction fund.

• accepted the resignations of Mark Sturgill, extra service position for Save the Children at Cowan Elementary School; Freddie Terry, bus driver district wide; Charlotte Ison, cook/ baker at LCCHS; Joyce Sharon Short, custodian at Whitesburg Middle School; and Delores Webb, cook/ baker at Letcher Elementary School.

• approved the hiring of Tammy Hall, an instructional assistant II and bus monitor at Letcher Elementary School; Jacqueline McCall, an instructional assistant II at Letcher Elementary School; Cecelia L. Hampton, an instructional assistant I at Arlie Boggs Elementary School; and Sharon McCall, an instructional assistant I at Beckham Bates Elementary School.

• noted the indefinite suspension of Deborah Amburgey, a teacher at Beckham Bates Elementary School.

• approved a stipend of $1,500 per year for “district professional learning community facilitators” and $1,000 per year for “grade level professional learning community facilitators” for the 2010-2011 school year. There are five district level positions and 23 grade level positions. The positions are related to the implementation of the 2009 state school reform bill known as Senate Bill 1. The positions will be funded through federal Title I money.

“These positions are for people working to prepare for extra professional development days,” said Craft.

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