The Letcher County Board of Education has approved a tentative budget that cuts a number of teacher and staff positions to help make up for significant losses in state funding and the rising costs of diesel fuel and utility bills.
Gary Caldwell, district finance offi cer, told the board at its May meeting that $915,000 is being budgeted for utility costs for the 2011–2012 school year, an increase of $146,800 from last year. For the 2010–2011 school year, $769,000 was allotted for utility bills.
Caldwell also made adjustments for rising diesel fuel costs. Caldwell said $350,000 was budgeted for diesel fuel costs for last school year and $400,000 is included in the tentative budget for this coming school year to cover the cost of diesel fuel.
The budget includes $102,144 to cover the increase in retirement for both classified and certified staff and $250,000 for health insurance.
The board approved reducing the number of days for certified staff from 187 days to 185 days for a savings of $108,574. The number of jobs funded with stimulus funding was reduced as well as counselor, physical education, art and special education positions.
As a result of the tighter budget, 27 certified employees and 25 classifi ed employees were informed their contracts were not being renewed for the next school year.
“Eighty percent of our expenditures is in labor,” said Caldwell.
The budget does not include money to buy new buses, which usually cost about $200,000.
Caldwell said the beginning balance for the 2010–2011 school year was $2.6 million and the projected beginning balance for the 2011- 2012 school year is $1.75 million. Caldwell said the beginning balance could increase some.
“There is no fluff in this budget,” said Anna Craft, superintendent of the Letcher County Public School System.
In 2011, more than $200,00 was cut from Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) allocations and $140,000 was cut from the 2012 SEEK funding. The net SEEK funding for 2012 is $14,318,412.
Board Chairman Will Smith asked Caldwell if he had figured out the worst case scenario and he said he had not.
The board was told that “nonrenewal of contract” letters were sent to the following certified employees for the 2011–2012 school year: Betty Acevedo, Paige Adams, Denise Baker, Tammie Bentley, Jamieson Burgett, Malinda Boggs, April Cupp, Jonathan Frances, Brandon Garrett, Stephanie Gilbert, Jacqueline Hall, Megan Ison, Brandon Johnson, Winston Lee, Allison Little, Amelia McDougal, Michael Mullins, Jamie Napier, Christine Parrott, April Ramirez, Tia Smith, Ashley Spangler, Timothy Taylor, Lesley Whitaker, McKenzie Williams and Malissa Young.
Classified employees receiving the same “non-renewal of contract” letters for the 2011–2012 school year were: Brittany Adams, Elizabeth Adams, Malisa Armitage, Terri Bailey, William Banks, Heather Bates, Bridgett Begley, Olivia Blair, Crystal Boggs, Terrie Combs, Tammy Cook, Linda Craiger, Lisa Elkins, Leslie Johnson, Goldie Kalahan, Frankie Martin, Jacqueline McCall, Sharon McCall, Carolyn Potter, Michelle Robinson, Melissa Shepherd, Donna Sturgill, Michelle Tilley, Heather Vice and Dorothy Wiley.
In other business, Terry Sturgill, district director of special projects, said the final completion date for the Letcher County Area Technology Center is set for Nov. 24.
“It’s not going to be long we are going to have a roof on that building,” said Sturgill.
The district’s attendance rate as of April 21 is 92.6 percent, according to Kenneth Cornett, district director of pupil personnel. Whitesburg Middle School has the highest attendance rate for the eighth month of the school with 94.35 percent.
The board also:
• named Jamala Pelfrey, a math teacher at Whitesburg Middle School, as employee of the month. Board to meet
The Kentucky River District Board of Health will meet at 6:30 p.m., June 7. The meeting will take place at Ponderosa in Hazard.
• accepted an emergency change to the board policy concerning graduation requirements. The board extended the maximum number of credits a student can lack and participate in commencement exercises. The maximum number of credits was increased from two to three credits, provided the necessary credits are offered in summer school. The diploma will be held until all graduation requirements are met.
“If one is willing to work that hard we wanted to give them that opportunity,” said Craft.
• approved Kentucky River Community Care’s request to hold a Summer Splash program at West Whitesburg Elementary School from June 6 through July 8.
• approved the Letcher County Health Department’s request to host a rabies clinic in July in the parking lots of Beckham Bates and Fleming Neon elementary schools and Whitesburg Middle School.
• voted to allow students from Beckham Bates Elementary School with good attendance records to take a reward trip to King’s Island on June 7.
• agreed to participate in the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative bidding process for the 2011–2012 school year for the following items: school pictures, athletic equipment, pest control, bread and bread products, milk and milk products, food and supplies, paper, instructional supplies and custodial supplies.
• approved a budget amendment for the Save the Children program at Arlie Boggs Elementary School. Funding for the literacy program has been cut by $987.50.
• selected Roberts Insurance as the insurance agent for student accident coverage for the 2011– 2012 school year at a premium of $59,333.10.
• authorized Craft to submit any application or information necessary to qualify for state Supporting Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funds for the 2011–2012 school year.
• agreed to pay membership dues to the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC) for the 2011–2012 school year at a cost of $2,586.39 per year.
• approved the 2011–2012 pay dates, with the schedule reflecting that all district employees will be paid on a two-week basis beginning July 29 for a total of 26 payments.
• agreed to pay $4,671.99 in a change order for the construction of the Letcher County Area Technology Center to provide materials and labor to lower the existing fire protection main to pass under the pipe leading from the oil and water separator.
• accepted a credit of $32,507.19 from Elliott Contracting for the Letcher County Area Technology Center construction project to omit insulation on hydronic pipes and accessories.
• approved the following payment of claims for services rendered for the construction of the Letcher County Area Technology Center: WD Construction, $36,549; Alliance Corporation, $27,025.02; Home Lumber Company, $20, 876; The Atlas Companies, $1,040; J & J Masonry, $102,600; Hinkle Block & Masonry Product, $28,463.04; MMI of Kentucky, $20,480.60; Structural Steel Services, $58,482; Elliott Contracting, $64,116; Elliott Supply and Glass, $43,925.44; Codell Construction, $15,838; and Sherman Carter Barnhart, $1,621.91.
• approved the financial report, payment of bills and transfers and payment of salaries. Caldwell reported $11,158,515.95 as the bank balance on March 31, with $5,835,269.82 of that designated for construction projects.
• accepted the resignations of James Sexton, a custodian/lunchroom monitor at West Whitesburg Elementary School; Larry T. Puckett, energy manager and LCCHS assistant football coach; and Ronald Morgan, WWES bus driver.
• learned of the hirings of Angela Napier as a substitute ground monitor; Mark Napier as a substitute custodian; Jennifer Adams as a substitute instructional assistant, bus monitor and lunch monitor; and Ronnie Ashby as a substitute custodian.
• learned of the hiring of Jonathan Adams as a district-wide middle school baseball coach.
The board’s June meeting is set for 6 p.m. on June 27 in the Lendell Smith Memorial Conference Room of the Letcher County School Bus Garage.