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‘Working budget’ has small raise for teachers, workers

A “working budget” approved this week by the Letcher County Board of Education includes a proposed one-percent wage increase for all certified and classified employees.

The proposed one-percent wage hike, which is estimated to cost $180,000, would have to be approved by the board at a later meeting. Letcher County school employees haven’t had a raise in five years.

The working budget, which is a financial plan that can be adjusted, totals $25,596,284 from the general fund and the school food service fund. Seventy-three percent of that amount is payroll expenses, which total $18,536,454.

Gary Caldwell, district finance officer, said $200,000 has been set aside to purchase new school buses. The board has chosen not to buy a new fleet for the past couple of years.

The working budget contingency is $992,105. Caldwell said the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) allocation decreased by $500,000. The funding is based on average daily attendance (ADA). SEEK funding in 2008 was $5,544.25 per student and is $5,086 in 2013. Caldwell said the difference in ADA from 2008 versus 2013 is $1,324,045.

In other business, Dr. Van Breeding, Ashley Sexton, Cody Sexton — all organizers of the Agrestic Music Festival — presented the board with a check for $7,000 to benefit the structured classroom for autistic children, which is located at West Whitesburg Elementary School and was formerly located at Fleming Neon Elementary School. The Agrestic Music Festival was held at River Park in Whitesburg on Memorial Day weekend and included a lineup of 15 bands. The festival was created by A.C.A.M. Productions, a nonprofit organization created by Ashley Sexton, her husband Cody Sexton, Cody Sexton’s brother Adam Sexton and Adam Sexton’s girlfriend Malinda Hull.

After the presentation, Supt. Anna Craft asked Breeding to update board members concerning a school-based clinic that began operating this year. The board and Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation entered into an agreement over the summer that allows local health care providers from MCHC and Mountain Instant Care to treat students, faculty and staff in school facilities.

“We are pleased with the results,” said Breeding. “The school system is pleased with the results. The kids are fantastic. The parents are loving it.”

Breeding said about 500 patients were seen by a practitioner during the first month of school. He estimated that 60 employee days were saved by teachers and other personnel being treated at the school-based clinic.

“The savings from student attendance going up I foresee will fund a teacher,” said Craft. She added that students “can’t learn if they aren’t in school.”

Breeding said the school-based clinic is now a member of the National Association of School Health Centers, has been inspected by the inspector general, and has a license. Craft said other Kentucky school districts are interested in creating similar schoolbased clinics.

“At our meeting in Frankfort they are bragging on what we are doing up here, and other districts want to know what is going on,” said Craft.

Breeding also announced that MCHC will fund 10 scholarships for students going into healthrelated fields such as nursing, medical management, the medical assistant program. The scholarship program, which will also be available to medical school students, will begin in the spring, Breeding said.

In other business, Craft talking about the need to add a law and justice program to the curriculum at the Letcher County Area Technology Center.

“With the new (federal) prison coming, we want to have a law and justice program,” she said. Craft said she wants students to have the training necessary to obtain jobs at the new federal prison expected to be built in Letcher County.

Craft said four district administrators traveled to Georgia recently to tour similar law and justice programs.

Terry Sturgill, director of special projects, said the district attendance rate for the first month of the 2012-2013 school year is 95.57 percent. Arlie Boggs Elementary School had the highest student attendance percentage for the first month of school. The school’s percentage is 96.91.

Sherry Sexton, district energy manager, said the district saved $72,696 during the 2011-12 school year by implementing an energy plan that resulted in 807,735 fewer kilowatt-hours being used.

Chris Russell, project manager of the athletic fields at Letcher County Central High School, told the board the final completion date for the softball field is February 8.

The board also:

• named Jan Sexton, an instructional aid at Arlie Boggs Elementary School, as the district’s employee of the month.

• awarded bids for gasoline and diesel fuel to Childers Oil Company. A bid for lubricants and antifreeze was awarded to Childers Oil Company and Key Oil. A bid for tires, tubes and tire retreading was awarded to Appalachian Tire and Perry County Tire.

• approved an agreement with Jenkins Independent Schools under which the county schools will provide alternative education services to Jenkins Independent students for the current school year.

• contracted with the Pikeville Independent School District to provide services for visually impaired students for the 2012-13 school year.

• approved the following payment of claims for construction of the LCCHS softball field, tennis courts and golf range: Tree Top Landscaping, Inc., DBA Sportsfield, $8,996.73; Don Amburgey’s Plumbing, $4,500; Complete Electrical Systems, Inc., $5,310; Cumberland-Cape Electric Supply, $4,116.58; Rising Sun Development, Inc., $57,150; MMI of Kentucky, $7,097.59; Codell Construction, $9,185; Sherman-Carter Barnhart Architects, $6,120.92; and Lynn Imaging, $220.56.

• learned of the resignation of Bettina Vanover, a district-wide special education teacher. Tammy Cook has been hired to replace Vanover.

• learned of the retirements of certified employees Lillie Bentley, a teacher at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School; Charlotte Keel, a teacher at Cowan Elementary School; Delaine R. Ward, a districtwide teacher; and Cheryl Wright, a teacher at Cowan Elementary School.

• learned of the hiring of Crystal Sparks, a teacher at West Whitesburg Elementary School; Edith Mullins, a custodian at the alterative education center; and Aaron Profitt, a bus driver

The next regular board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.

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