Whitesburg KY

Summer break may come early to Jenkins students

If winter storms continue to avoid Letcher County (which looked doubtful Tuesday night), students in the Jenkins Independent School System will go on summer break earlier than usual.

At its February meeting this week, the Jenkins Independent Board of Education was told by Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett that May 15 might be the last day of school for students. Tackett cautioned, however, that if any more days are missed because of bad weather more days will have to be added to the spring calendar. The last day for staff will be May 16.

Tackett also told the board that while Jenkins schools have been hit hard by the flu, the number of absences hasn’t been enough to justify suspending classes. Tackett said attendance numbers for February are down, but have held relatively steady at around 90 percent. The yearly average daily attendance rate is 92.9 percent, he said.

Tackett said the first week of February showed a drop, with the middle high school dropping slightly below 90 percent but the elementary schools averaged 91.3. Superintendent John Shook told the board that any time the average daily attendance drops below 90 percent it is cause for concern but does not necessarily mean schools should be closed. He said two days missed because of snow earlier this month probably canceled out what would have been the worst two attendance days because of the flu.

Enrollment in the Jenkins system now stands at 562, Tackett said.

In other business this week, the board discussed ongoing repairs and renovations to all three school buildings in the system.

Shook told the board that Elliott Contracting, which is doing inside work on floors, ceilings, etc., has completed about half the work it is scheduled to perform and is currently waiting on Bri-Den, a roofing company from Ashland, to complete repairs to the roofs of the buildings. Bri-Den cannot work on the roofs when the outside temperature is below 40 degrees. Shook said it would be counterproductive to install new ceiling tiles until after the roofs are repaired. He said the work should be finished by the contract date of June 14.

Shook also told the board that because of uncertainty surrounding the school system’s operating budget for 2008-2009, the March 1 deadline for “allocation reports” to be delivered to sitebased councils has been moved to May 1.

Allocation reports affect the retention and rehiring of teachers and other staff. Shook said the budget cuts threatened by Gov. Steve Beshear forced the move.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Jan Tackett told the board that the system’s elementary schools have been approved for a Mathematics Achievement Fund Grant from the Kentucky Department of Education. She said the amount of the grant and other details are sketchy because the official notification hasn’t arrived yet. Tackett said the announcement was made on the Department of Education’s web site.

Tackett also told the board that the “Credit Recovery Plan” being used by the system continues to go well. She said 111 credits have been recovered by students in extended school service activities using computer programs designed to help them catch up on credits lost if they failed a course or did not complete a classroom year.

Tackett also reported that ACT testing will take place on March 11. She said that since the test is now required by the state, the tests will be given at no cost to the students or their parents. CATS testing will be conducted between April 21 and May 22 for grades 3 through 12.

In other business: • The board recognized members of the middle school academic team for their achievement in regional competition. Six students from Jenkins Middle High School will advance to compete in the Governor’s Cup Competition. Brook Puckett, William Nickles, Kevin Brashear, Michael Kelly, Josiah Whitaker, and Jessica Mullins will represent Jenkins Middle High School at the Governor’s Cup.

• The board voted unanimously to approve the second reading of Policy 09.2 of the Student Welfare and Wellness policy to include physical activity.

• The board agreed to meet at its regular time in March (the fourth Monday at 6:30 p.m.) even though the date falls during spring break.

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