The Estill County Board of Education recognized several retirees during Thursday night’s special meeting.
High school teacher Carolyn Perkins, is retiring following 34 years of teaching, and Debbie Anders, with 23 years of teaching, was recognized.
From West Irvine, Kim Dunn and Kim Fallen were honored, with 27 and 29 years of teaching, respectively.
Amy Noland-Hughes is retiring from South Irvine Elementary following 27 years of teaching. She also served as school librarian and taught music and physical education.
Wes Hensley, a mechanic at the bus garage, is retiring with 11 years invested in the school system, and Judy Johnson retired from her position as bus assistant following 12 years of service.
“Every job, every person has a value,” said Saylor, who wished the retirees well in the next phase of their lives.
In other business, the board approved a revised transportation salary schedule.
Superintendent Jeff Saylor said two bus routes have been eliminated, as they have been combined with existing routes. Saylor said the district will save $20,000 to $25,000 per route. Board vice-chair L.W. Beckley asked if eliminating the routes would cause overcrowding, and Saylor said it would not.
Board member Patty Hood expressed concerns about whether the routes would cause earlier pick-up times than are already in place for students living in rural areas, and Saylor explained that the only routes that might be slightly longer are the shorter ones.
Some adjustments to the salary schedule will help bring bus drivers up to a better pay ranking as compared to other districts in the state. Superintendent Saylor said Estill County teachers’ pay ranks in the top 30 in the state, while their bus-drivers ranked in the bottom three before the changes.
The board also agreed to the hiring of an additional core teacher to help reduce class size at the middle school. With 35 to 36 students in math and language classes, “even the best teachers have a hard time,” Saylor said.
The school board also agreed to grant the high school’s site-based council’s request for an agriculture teacher following the review of information technology teacher applications that do not meet the criteria at this time.
A contract with board attorney Jason Riley was approved, as was the payment of claims.
There was some review of the superintendent’s evaluation.
Assistant superintendent Tonya Isaacs said that in most of the 72 areas that Saylor was evaluated, he scored “accomplished.” She said the board’s evaluation of Saylor was mostly in line with his own self-reflection.
Saylor said that he thinks they’ve “done a pretty remarkable job with the budget,” increasing the district’s contingency fund from about $200,000 to $800,000 while budgeting for four new buses and additional teachers in the classroom.
He said he hopes to continue building partnerships throughout the community, and he plants to visit every classroom at least one time in the next year, while working more closely with the principals.
He said novice reduction will continue to be one of his main focuses as he moves forward.
The Estill County School Board will next meet on July 28 in a special called meeting at the central office.