Whitesburg KY
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Schools won’t close for spring vacation

The Letcher County Board of Education voted to have school during the week originally designated for spring break to help make up some days missed because of snow and ice.

The board approved Monday night to revise the 2010–2011 school calendar to include April 4–8 as instructional days.

“This will be five days we can teach before testing,” said Anna Craft, superintendent of Letcher County Public Schools. “I think it is critical.”

As of January 20, the district has missed 20 days because of inclement weather, pushing the last day of school for students to May 20. The original last day of school for students would have been May 13.

Terry Sturgill, director of special projects, said the district could miss six more days and still get out of school in May.

Craft said 10 “ banked” days, which are days accumulated by having extra time added to the regular school day, will be used to compensate for some of the missed days.

“We are going 30 minutes longer than a normal school day,” said Craft. “I don’t think that we can add any more time to the school day. I think it is a long enough day.”

Sturgill said school ended for students on June 11 last year because of a combination of days missed in the fall because of flu and other sicknesses and then more days missed in the winter because of inclement weather.

Craft cautioned that winter isn’t over and more days of school could be canceled.

“We have 10 to make up and we have not finished,” said Craft. “We have another week in January and the whole month of February and the floods of March. So unfortunately I would like to ask that we just eliminate spring break from the calendar.”

Board member Terry Cornett asked if high school seniors would still be able to go on a class trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City.

“That’s an educational trip,” said Craft. “They can go.”

In other business, the board affirmed that it has publically examined anticipated revenue and expenditures for the 2011–2012 fiscal year in a draft budget format recommended by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Gary Caldwell, district finance officer, projected the beginning balance for fiscal year 2011 to be $2,603,174.25. Total projected expenses for fiscal year 2011 total $20,625,085.10.

“We can make it through this year,” said Craft. “ If they continue to make cuts and expenses go up, I don’t know what we are going to do. It’s a frightening time in the economy all across the country but particularly in schools.”

Chris Russell, Codell Construction project manager of the Letcher Area Technology Center, said the substantial completion date is November 14, with the final completion date set for November 30. In December the tall foundation wall was poured and formed. In January the short perimeter walls were poured and engineered fill was placed in foundation area. The interior footers were poured and underground plumbing was installed.

Russell said in the next 30 days, the interior footers will be finished. Workers will pour an elevator pit, finish laying foundation block, finish underground plumbing rough in and finish underground electrical rough in. They will also finish preparation work for slab pour, pour sections of first floor slab and set hollow metal door frames for first floor.

The board members were named employees of the month in observance of School Board Appreciation Month.

“They make my job enjoyable most of the time,” said Craft. “They are good citizens in our community.”

Cassidy Riffe, a senior at Letcher County Central High School, was also named an employee of the month and was recognized for serving as the first student representative on the school board.

“She brings student perspective to the board,” said Craft. “It’s probably one of the most important positions on the board.”

Will Smith, chairman of the board, said Riffe is close by to answer studentrelated questions when they come up during board meetings.

“She has been a real asset to this board,” said Smith. “She is right at our fingertips to help us with those answers and we appreciate her.”

The board re- elected Smith board chairman and Cornett vice chairman of the board.

“I appreciate you guys with your vote of confidence in me,” said Smith, who has served 18 years on the school board. “I will do my best. That is what I have always done in the past.”

The board also:

• appointed Dr. Sam Quillen Jr., who wasn’t at Monday night’s meeting, as the board member who will serve as the legislative network representative for the Letcher County Board of Education for 2011.

• approved a correction to the November board minutes. The board gave approval to a change order for construction of the Letcher Area Technology Center in the amount of $89,222.60 to install stone aggregate piers and issue credit for unused Tenser grid.

• approved Sapphire Coal Company to host an employee dinner at Letcher County Central High School on Jan. 29.

• approved the LCCHS senior class trip to Washington D.C. April 2-6.

• approved the LCCHS baseball team to participate in a tournament in Murray April 3-9.

• approved Letcher Elementary School to sell cookie dough and greeting cards as a fund-raiser to provide student rewards, incentives, field trips and afterschool activities.

• approved submission of grant applications for the 2011–2012 school year for Family Resource Youth Services Centers (FRYSC) for Arlie Boggs, Beckham Bates, Fleming- Neon and Martha Jane Potter elementary schools, LCCHS, Whitesburg Middle School, Letcher and Whitesburg areas.

• approved declaring cabinets, chairs, a cooling fan, file cabinets, lockers, rubber mats, sinks, student desks, tables and teacher desks as surplus property.

• approved a memorandum of understanding with Kentucky River District Health Department for implementing a program at LCCHS to reduce the risk of pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

• approved submission of an application to the Kentucky Department of Education for funding through the Early College Grant.

• approved submission of an application to the Kentucky Department of Education for a Math Homework Helpers Grant.

• approved Standard Life as the vendor for the board-paid life insurance for all fulltime employees at $15,000 per employee at an annual premium of $11,903.

• approved the following payment of claims for construction of the Letcher County Area Technology Center: Mountain Aggregates, $715; Alliance Corporation, $222,975; MMI of Kentucky, $6,604.46; Home Lumber Company, $25,009; Pine Mountain Stone, $38,827.88; Marion Steel Fabrication, $ 20,241.29; Basting Painting Inc., $2,250; SimplexGrinnell, LP, $10,602; Elliott Contracting Inc., $11,565; Ferguson Enterprises, $21,743.42; Elliott Supply and Glass, $6,903.10; and Codell Construction Company, $17,337.

• approved the financial report for December, payment of bills and transfers and payment of salaries for January 2011.

• accepted the resignation of Thomas Dollarhide, a district-wide maintenance technician.

• learned of the classified employment of Roger Collins, a bus driver at Letcher Elementary School; Mary Cole, Amanda Rogers and Delores Webb, cooks/bakers at Letcher Elementary School.

• established the following board meeting dates for 2011: January 24, February 28, March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27, July 25, August 22, September 26, October 24, November 28 and December 19.

All meetings will be held in the Lendell Smith Memorial Conference Room of the school bus garage.

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