Photo by Lisa Bicknell
Samuel Adams, at left, was recently named as the Kentucky Music Education Association’s High School Teacher of the Year. He was presented a certificate of recognition by Superintendent Jeff Saylor at last week’s board meeting.
By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
The Estill County Board of Education recognized several individuals during the January meeting on Thursday night.
Christopher Pasley, who was selected fifth chair in the All-State Symphonic Band, was commended as the first student from Estill County to receive this honor. He will be performing with the All State Symphonic Band at the Kentucky Music Educator’s Association Professional Development Conference at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville in February. Pasley was not present at the meeting.
Samuel Adams was recognized as the Kentucky Music Education Association’s High School Teacher of the Year. Adams has taught at the Estill County High School for three years, and he has played a significant role in developing the guitar program for students of the high school and middle school.
Yvette Young was recognized as Community Mountain Mover of the Month. Superintendent Saylor commended her for her support of the children in Estill County. She has operated Playtime Daycare for almost 20 years.
LaDonna Johnson was chosen the classified Mountain Mover of the Month. She has worked as a finance officer at Central Office for 20 years.
Stephen Willis, principal at South Irvine Preschool, was recognized as the certified Mountain Mover for this month. Stephen started his career in education 13 years ago teaching at Scott County High School in Georgetown, KY. He taught at Model Lab School located on EKU’s campus before taking an administration position in the Estill County School system. Stephen is currently principal at the South Irvine Early Learning Center and assistant principal at Estill Springs Elementary. Superintendent Saylor also mentioned that Willis returned to school later in life after working in a factory for several years.
In other business, Belinda Puckett presented the annual Nutrition and Physical Activity report. She said that not a lot has changed, with the exception that the number of breakfasts served was up from 32 percent to 44 percent.
The board approved the draft budget after briefly revisiting the discussion started in the special called meeting earlier in the month.
Superintendent Saylor said that Estill County is one of the fortunate school districts that has a more significant contingency fund.
He also explained that much of next year’s fiscal budget depends on what state legislator’s decide; therefore, the budget will become clearer in May.
Under Governor Bevin’s proposed budget, the Estill school district’s transportation budget would be reduced by about $650,000, he also said. In addition, several cuts are being proposed for state grant programs, which could result in having to find some positions for teachers.
A bonding update was provided by Mark Rawlings with Hilliard Lyons to address worst case scenarios if school enrollment continues to drop.
Even so, the district should have no trouble meeting debt requirements, Saylor explained. He said that as the school district gets smaller, equalization dollars go up, but that factor was not included in the debt service study, which still showed the district being able to meet its debts.
This year, the School Facilities Construction Commission made an offer of assistance to the district in the amount of $34,601, which raises bonding potential by about $600,000.
Saylor said he would be speaking with architect Ross Tarrant on Friday about the middle school roofing project and the Estill Springs HVAC project. The goal is to get those projects finished before beginning the college and career tech center.
Board member L.W. Beckley asked if the governor’s proposed budget cuts would put the $5.7 million grant for the career and technical center at risk, and Saylor assured him that it would not, because the money is already set aside. The governor’s budget sets aside $100 million for workforce development. Saylor said that he will also be speaking to County Judge-executive Williams about the county’s commitment to the career and technical center.
The Comprehensive District School Improvement Plan was discussed and approved. Assistant Superintendent Tonya Isaacs explained that it is a transition year with the state, as far as accountability goes, but Saylor said the teachers and administrators are still being held accountable for student growth.
Isaacs invited board members to core team meetings on Tuesdays where strategic planning to improve student learning happen every week.
Board Vice-chair Donna Isfort said she was glad the district was reporting on the plan to improve academics, because there has been so much discussion about buildings in the past.
Isaacs said that administrators are seeing more teacher “buy in” to different methods of accountability.
Surplus items were approved to be sold, including a 1999 Chevy Astro van, a 2000 Chevy Astro, a 1994 Chevy Astro, and a 1989 Dodge 350. Also 14 lunchroom tables were added to the list.
Courtney Barnes with the Estill County Health Department was present to recommend a five day “Positive Potential” curriculum be taught to eighth graders, and possibly some high school students. Barnes said there has been an increasing number of teen pregnancies within the county, some of which happen when girls are in the 8th grade. The curriculum is science-based and focuses on life skills and abstinence. It is part of the health curriculum required for middle school students, but parents will have to give permission for students to participate.
Some options for next year’s school calendar were presented to the board. Options include start dates ranging from August 2 to August 7, including either a two day fall break or a week-long break, and varying the day of return after Christmas break. All options presented included a full week for spring break.
L.W. Beckley said that he’d like to do away with fall break and start school a week later because of the extreme heat typically associated with August.
The board is expected to vote on the school calendar during the next meeting.
Superintendent Saylor reminded that the school start date will depend in part on the progress of the middle school roof project and the Estill Springs HVAC system project.
Saylor also said he’d like the board to take a look at school day start times in the future. He said that some small kids are having to catch the bus at five to 10 minutes before 6, and he thinks that is too early.
Personnel actions include of the regular employment of Brittany Dixon, Leslie Dooley, Robin Hensley, and W. Reese Pasley as bus assistants.
Resignations were accepted from Heather Riddell, substitute bus assistant, and Darren Somerville, assistant boys’ soccer at the middle school.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Estill County Board of Education is February 15, 2018 at 6 p.m.