HVAC systems are operational at Northside, Southside
Woodford County Board of Education Chair Ambrose Wilson IV, other board members and schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins lauded teachers, their families and other staffers for going above and beyond to ensure Northside and Southside elementary schools were ready when students arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday, Aug. 10. "I don't think it's an overstatement to say, 'Our employees performed a miracle at Northside and Southside,'" said Wilson. About 10 days before school was scheduled to begin, he told Hawkins that he didn't think there was any way that those buildings would be ready for students. Witnessing school employees and their families working alongside others in the community to ensure classrooms were clean and ready for students, Wilson said, "I wish that the five of us could shake everybody's hand and pat everybody on the back that helped." Hawkins acknowledged that replacing two HVAC systems in one summer likely stretched the resources of construction crews doing those projects, and agreed, "Our folks just flat got it done." And he said architect Margie Jacobs stayed at Southside Elementary School until 11 o'clock on Tuesday night to ensure students had air conditioning on Wednesday morning. The new HVAC systems replaced aging systems that were original to the school buildings, which were constructed 25 years ago. Maintenance projects The board was given a priority list for school maintenance projects, including the installation of a new canopy over a student pickup area at Woodford County High School at an estimated cost of $150,000. During a review of the priority list, which was previously discussed at a July work session, Wilson said he did not recall the board finalizing a list of priorities for capital-fund improvement projects - specifically coming to an agreement on the WCHS canopy. He said a project of that magnitude would result in upfront costs for architectural and other services before the board takes action to move forward on a project, which would likely not occur until next summer. Other items included on the list for the current fiscal year are the installation of additional security cameras at WCHS, Safe Harbor Academy and Woodford County Middle School at an estimated cost of $15,910. Also, an asphalt repair, resealing and re-striping of the parking lot at Central Office has an updated estimated cost of $4,300. Meanwhile, adding a third lane to the entrance/exit at Southside Elementary School will cost an estimated $41,637. The remaining cost of that $54,054 project will come out of the leftover contingency dollars from the HVAC replacement project. With state approval last Friday on the third lane project at Southside Elementary, Smith said she anticipates receiving a schedule for that construction project this week. None of the projects will move forward until the board approves capital fund requests and/or construction documents for a project, Smith said. The board will be asked to approve the priority maintenance list for the current fiscal year and beyond at its regular meeting next Monday night at 6. Future needs include improving the HVAC controls at Simmons Elementary (estimated cost of $84,000) and WCMS ($140,000), and a constructing a concession stand with restrooms at WCMS ($150,000). The district currently has $456,043 for capital improvement projects. The priority list for this fiscal year includes projects with an estimated cost of $328,457. Student representative Woodford County High School sophomore Matti Springate, who serves on the Prichard Committee's Student Voice Team, asked board members to consider allowing a WCHS student to serve as a student-representative on the school board. As a non-voting member of the board, a student-rep would "provide input from the student body and a valuable perspective that should be reflected in school decision-making," Matti said. Only 9 percent of Kentucky's school districts have a student-representative on its school boards. Boone County has had a student-representative on its school board for over 10 years, Matti told board members. She said student-representatives are peer-elected or appointed by a school administrator. Matti hopes to talk to the site-based decision-making council at WCHS sometime this month about allowing a student-rep to serve on that council, she told board members. Travel request pulled Hawkins pulled a travel request to Milwaukee for two teachers in the wake of recent riots in Wisconsin's largest city. Preschool update The number of children being served by the school district's preschool program climbed to 189, according to preschool Director Kathy Hogg. In a report provided to board members, she reported that 26 percent of the preschool students were three-year-olds and 74 percent were four-year-olds, with 17 percent receiving English as a Second Language services. Hogg said efforts are ongoing to reach out to the community in an effort "to find unserved kids," who would benefit from preschool. The district will apply for a Preschool Partnership Planning grant to explore an extension of preschool services to private settings. Adult education The adult education program graduated 10 students through the GED program last year, adult education director Tammy Bramlett told board members. She said two more students have graduated this school year, with a total of 16 GED grads being the goal. The district's adult education program has one classroom at Safe Harbor Academy during the school day, and two more classrooms are no longer available at the Versailles Housing Authority. So the program currently only has more than one classroom for its evening classes during the school year. Asked what adult education needs to serve students in its programs, Bramlett said, "Three classrooms would be ideal. Two would be wonderful." In related matters, Bramlett said adult education students are benefiting from 20 new Chromebooks in classes. She said adult education volunteers are also going into the Woodford County Detention Center for GED and ESL classes. The twice-weekly ESL classes for inmates are new this year, Bramlett said. She said two inmates are ready to take their GED tests. Financial report The district began July with a total cash balance of $10.439 million and ended the month with $9.46 million, according to Smith's financial report. Expenditures included an $849,766.96 bond payment, and revenues included a state capital outlay allocation of $184,500 (restricted for debt payments and capital improvement projects).