Student representative on school board closer to reality
The Woodford County Board of Education unanimously approved first reading of a new policy on Monday that will allow a non-voting student representative to serve on the school board. The student representative's involvement "is solely for the purpose of providing input from a student viewpoint," the new policy states. The high school's student body will elect a junior or senior to serve on the Board of Education for one year beginning Aug. 1 and ending June 30. A student may also be elected for a second one-year term. The student representative will not participate in closed board sessions, and will be removed from the board if he or she fails to attend two meetings (unless excused for a satisfactory reason). In August, 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 on the school board. As a non-voting member, a student rep would "provide input from the student body and a valuable perspective that should be reflected in school decision-making," Matti said. The Board of Education will have a second reading of this new policy at its regular meeting next Monday. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Simmons Elementary School. Counseling grant A federal grant paying for additional counselors at the district's four elementary schools has resulted in structures being put into place to improve social and emotional curriculum for students, said Chief Academic Officer Jimmy Brehm during his monthly instructional update to the board. The counselors have trained and educated teachers and other staff at the elementary schools about the social and emotional needs of students. So "we can show them how to manage their emotions in tough situations," said Brehm. He said the social and emotional lessons are taught to students once a week for 30 minutes. Additional lessons are taught during a counselor's guidance time, he added. Also, hour-long professional development sessions are being offered to further educate teachers and other staff about the social and emotional well-being of students, Brehm said. Every elementary school will continue to employ a full-time guidance counselor when federal funding for the additional counseling services - a second full-time counselor at Simmons, a half-time counselor at Northside, and a full-time counselor providing services to both Huntertown and Southside - ends after this school year. Facilities plan The school board will be asked at its meeting next Monday to approve the hiring of Tate, Hill, Jacobs for architectural services as the district's Local Planning Committee begins the process of updating a facilities plan. Kentucky school boards are required to develop a district facilities plan every four years and obtain an architect's evaluation before completing the plan, according to information given to board members. The maximum cost for those architectural services ($12,000) will come out of the district's general fund. Margie Jacobs has been providing architectural services to the school board on recent construction and renovation projects in the district. School projects Close-out documents for the installation of a new fire alarm system at Woodford County High School at a total cost of $113,311 will come to the board for approval next Monday. The alarm system's cost was $2,197.99 less than projected. Those funds are now available for other building projects, according to information given to board members. The board will also be asked to approve a project application on Monday seeking the Kentucky Department of Education's approval to proceed with the replacement of the intercom system at Simmons Elementary School at a projected cost of $17,000. Financial report Woodford County Public Schools began September with a total cash balance of $7.584 million and ended the month with $5.359 million, according to Chief Operating Officer Amy Smith's financial report. A transfer of $990,235.37 from the building fund allowed the school district to make a bond payment on construction and renovation projects.