Whitesburg KY

Textbook complaints concern board members

Letcher County Board of Education members are growing concerned about the complaints they’re getting from the public regarding textbooks each year.

“This is something the board gets whipped over every year,” said Will Smith, chairman of the board, at the board’s June meeting last week.

In the past parents have complained that students at Letcher County Central High School haven’t had textbooks in some subject areas to take home to complete homework assignments.

“Last year we couldn’t go to ballgames without someone saying their child didn’t have a textbook,” said Attwell Turner, a board member.

Roger Martin, district finance officer, said money allocated each year for textbooks is used not only to buy new textbooks but to also replace lost textbooks.

He said about $75,000 was allocated for LCCHS to buy textbooks for this school year.

“The last few years the board has been more than generous to give extra money to make sure the students had books,” said Terry Sturgill, assistant superintendent.

The board approved the district textbook plan at the June board meeting. Individual school textbook plans will be maintained on file in the Letcher County school systems central office.

In other news, Randy Bailey, district technology coordinator, said the district is going to purchase small camcorders and microphones for every elementary school so students can learn to record events at their schools. He said the cost would be about $500 per school.

Clayshan Black, district intellectual assessor, was named employee of the month. She recently announced plans to retire. Bus drivers, Sherrill Slone and Donald Mullins, also presented their plans to retire.

Martin reported that the Kentucky Department of Education’s current mileage reimbursement rate is .40 cents per mile. Martin said that the board will adjust its rate to be the same as the state rate, beginning July 1, 2007. This rate is in compliance with board policies 03.125 and 03.225. Reimbursement rates will be revisited in December.

Jim Slone, district director of operations, said a maintenance crew is trying to bear-proof Dumpsters located at Arlie Boggs Elementary School. Slone said an official with the Department of Fish and Wildlife said the only way to get rid of the bears is to eliminate the food source.

Kenny Cornett, director of pupil personnel, said the district’s attendance rate for the 2006- 2007 school year was 91.76, down from last school year’s rate of 92.32.

The board approved hiring Tim Holt, a consultant with The Cambridge Group, to create a strategic plan initiative. Superintendent Anna Craft said the strategic plan initiative will give the community a voice in what the school system is about. She said the district wants to know what people in the community believe about children and education.

“This will give us a good road map of who we are, what we believe and where we want to go in the future,” said Craft.

Sometime in late August or early September the school district will hold community forums to get input from the public. Those interested can contact Terry Sturgill at 633-4455.

The board also:

+ entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Letcher County Alliance Advisory Council and Kentucky River Community Care for the Letcher County Family Resource Youth Service Center (FRYSC) to conduct summer camps.

+ approved the proposed revisions to the policy dealing with student and community access to electronic media.

+ accepted as a first reading the annual Kentucky School Boards Association update/review of the board’s policies and selected changes.

+ approved a proclamation of appreciation to Cumberland River Coal, a subsidiary of Arch Mineral, for constructing an entrance and student drop-off loop on the upper end of the Arlie Boggs Elementary School Property.

“It will really be a help with safety,” said Slone.

+ approved the Student Code of Conduct for the 2007-2008 school year.

Shoes with wheels are no longer permitted.

Students age 16 and 17 who become academically deficient or deficient in attendance shall be reported to the Transportation Cabinet for driver’s license, permit or driving privilege revocation.

A positive drug/alcohol result of tests conducted by the school district is viewed as being a drug offense. Any drug offense results in an immediate suspension of the student’s driving privileges for a minimum period of six weeks. If a student is placed at the Letcher County Education Center for a drug offense, it is the family’s responsibility to provide transportation. The days a student is in treatment for chemical dependency at recognized facilities shall be counted as excused absences.

+ approved participation in the Kentucky School Boards Association and to pay $4,828.57 in membership dues.

+ declared eight buses as surplus as well as items from maintenance, food service and technology. The board authorized Craft to dispose of the items in accordance with statutes.

+ approved reimbursement of payment expenses, up to $1,000, for the Letcher County Central baseball team to participate in state level competition.

+ approved reimbursement of payment expenses, up to $1,000, for the Letcher County Central tennis team to participate in state level competition.

+ authorized Craft to sign the Assurance page that all of the schools in Letcher County are in compliance with all the assurances listed in the Assurances document pertaining to Local Education Agency.

+ approved submission of an application for a federal grant for mentoring programs to the office of Safe and Drug-free Schools.

+ approved submission of a federal Safe Schools and Healthy Students grant application. If awarded, this grant will be for $750,000 a year for four years.

+ approved submission of the Save the Children grant application.

+ entered into an agreement with Hanover Insurance Company to provide coverage for comprehensive general liability, educator’s legal liability, property, and inland marine for a total premium of $123,596.

The board approved entering into an agreement with Hanover Insurance Company to provide umbrella insurance coverage for the 2007-2008 school year at a cost of $17,074.

The board gave approval for Hanover Insurance Company to provide bus/fleet insurance at a fleet premium of $69,237 for the 2007-2008 school year. The total costs for the insurance premiums will be $209,907.

+ approved a memorandum of understanding with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services that relates to the Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC) and the safeguarding of information and the disclosure of information.

+ continued a contract with the Letcher County Sheriff’s Department to provide a security officer for the school district. This action allows the officer to have arrest powers and to be properly trained with a law enforcement agency. The sheriff’s department will receive $32,130 plus any fixed charges associated with that amount.

+ ratified master agreements with the Commonwealth of Kentucky: Reading First program at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School, $150,000; Read to Achieve program at West Whitesburg Elementary School, $75,000; and Read to Achieve programs at Fleming-Neon, Beckham Bates and Cowan elementary schools, $65,000 each.

+ approved a contract with the Kentucky River District Health Department for use of teen leaders in the schools.

+ continued a contract with the Four C’s Foundation for afterschool and summer child care at West Whitesburg Elementary School.

+ entered into a contract with Premier Drug Testing Company to conduct drug testing for all employees that possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The cost per test is $52 for each urine drug screen test and $40 for each breath alcohol test.

+ entered into a lease agreement for a copier at central office at a cost of $701.23 a month, for 60 months.

+ paid the following payment of claims for the renovation project at West Whitesburg Elementary School: Bruce Wholesale, $37; Raus Floors and More, $1,029.89; Ferguson Enterprises, $177.12; and Daltile, $219.14.

+ approved the financial report, payment of bills and transfers, and payment of salaries. Martin reported that the general ledger balance contains $3,987,026.71.

+ authorized Craft to obtain a finance officer’s bond in the amount of $400,000 and to obtain a treasurer’s bond in the amount of $400,000 for July 1, 2007 – July 1, 2008.

+ approved the continuation of Title I teacher positions and primary teacher positions in the Teacher Quality Program. These positions are funded with Title I and Title II funds.

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on July 23 at the school bus garage.

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