The Estill County Board of Education received an annual audit report at a meeting at Central Office Monday and it is good. Auditor Artie White of White and Associates told the board members that this year’s audit is excellent. “Overall this is an excellent report,” he said. Board member Jami Price said that some teachers had asked her if there was a way they could be paid all summer instead of receiving all their pay prior to June 30. “I am sure it can be worked out, but since you have direct deposit you may need to talk to the bank about when to release the money,” he said. District Treasurer Angie Howell said it was decided a few years ago to go to direct deposit and everybody has to do that. “The employees have to receive all their pay before June 30 because they earned it before then,” she said. The board voted to accept the audit. Howell also presented a draft budget based on the current year’s funding. “I will have a more detailed budget at the May meeting,” she said. She said that she won’t know how much the system will have until the state legislature comes up with their budget. A new schematic design for the West Irvine Elementary School building was presented to the board by a representative of Ross-Tarrant Architects. He explained how they would manage to start construction on the new building without interrupting classes for the children. The plan is to place mobile temporary classrooms in front of the existing structure. They would then move students out of two sections of the building in order to demolish it and begin the new building. When that section is finished they will move students into the new part, remove the mobile units and demolish another section of the old building. Price and board member Verlon Prewitt expressed concern about student safety. The representative said there would be a fence placed around the construction site. They were also concerned about how the buses would drop off children once construction began. It was explained that the front parking lot would be used to park the buses and children would get on and off in the front. “How do you plan to make sure the children are safe while getting on the buses?” Price asked. West Irvine Principal Tonya Isaacs said she would have more people to supervise. Assistant Superintendent Randall Christopher, supervisor of buildings and grounds told the board that the older students would occupy the mobile classrooms. Ross-Tarrant expects the project to be complete and ready for student occupancy 16 months after construction begins. The board approved the schematic design and the architect said he would submit it to the state department of education for their approval. “We will be moving on the design and development in a couple of months,” he said. Technology Coordinator/Instructional Supervisor Nada Witt reported to the board that 50 new “smart boards” have been installed in classrooms and that only 38 classrooms don’t have them. “We now have a total of 125 and the teachers and students are enjoying them,” she said. Smart Boards work like computer monitors on the walls of the classroom and are used for many learning activities. Witt also discussed a Voice Over Internet Protocol by Windstream which will save the system more than $16,000 per year on the phone bill. The current yearly cost if $25,896.96 and the yearly cost of Voice Over Internet Protocol is $9.689 per year. This system will serve the entire district. In other business the board: *Approved a change to the school calendar due to the days missed for weather. The last day for students will now be May 20 instead of May 13, if no more days are missed. They will attend school on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 15. *Voted to install a new heat pump at Estill Springs Elementary at a cost of $283,000; *Approved a request by West Irvine music teacher Diane Smith for $573 to cover costs of taking two students to all-state chorus at the Kentucky Music Educators Association convention in February; *Approved a request from Estill High for help with transportation costs for the senior trip for $8,500.
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