Board approves 2017-18 draft budget
The Woodford County Board of Education approved a draft budget for the 2017-18 school year at its regular meeting on Monday night. School staffing is again by formula, and pay raises based on experience increments are included in the budget. Estimated balances in next school year’s $38.8 million general fund include $2.8 million in the building fund, $368,638 in the capital outlay fund, $2.6 million in the debt service fund and $2.2 million in the food service fund, with an 11 percent contingency. Information about the district’s special revenue (federal and state grant awards) and activity funds will be included in the tentative budget, which Chief Operating Officer Amy Smith will present to the board in May. Other future considerations include state SEEK funding (based on annual average daily student attendance this school year) and local property assessments, which should be known in August. With board Chair Ambrose Wilson IV not present, Vice-Chair Debby Edelen chaired Monday’s meeting. Projects finished The board approved closeout documents to install new security cameras at the middle and high schools, and Safe Harbor Academy at a cost of $15,455.21. The board approved closeout documents on the paving projects at Southside Elementary and bus garage at a total cost of $237,903.83, and new intercom system equipment at Simmons Elementary at a cost of $16,965.51. Capital outlay funds paid for those projects. The board also approved closeout documents for a wheelchair swing project at Southside Elementary at a cost of $14,055, and a three-year copy machine and service contract (with Commonwealth Technology) at a cost of $85,102.38. “It will be a fairly substantial savings over a three-year period,” said schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins. Bid approved The board approved a bid of $42,356 from Pro Sounds and Lights of Nicholasville for Confucius multimedia room installations in the gyms at Huntertown and Southside elementary schools, and the middle school cafeteria. The Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky is funding the project with a grant, according to information provided to school board members. A work summary stated that the installation will result in professional quality audio-visual systems for Woodford County Public Schools and the Confucius Institute, which provides Chinese-language instruction to students in the school district. Board attorney The board approved a resolution employing Chenoweth Law Office on an “as needed” basis this year. The Lawrenceburg law firm will be paid $135 per hour for legal services rendered and for travel time (45 cents per mile), and also be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred, according to its agreement with the school district. Improvement plans School principals from across the district provided board members with additional information about their school improvement plans. During their explanations of specific acronyms in the plans, the school principals provided insight into how educators are meeting the needs of students. Woodford County Middle School uses a matrix system to measure a student’s depth of understanding. A focus class at WCMS provides a student with additional instruction from a teacher in a specific core subject area, explained Principal Tracy Bruno. Middle and high school math and language arts teachers are nearly finished with training to better prepare them to work in a variety of co-teaching scenarios so classroom and special education teachers are more effective in meeting the needs of students as a team, board members were told. Principals also talked about ongoing efforts to bring more community leaders into their schools. Woodford County High School has begun providing monthly seminars for students so they have a deeper understanding of what professionals do in their careers, according to Principal Rob Akers. He said business law/communication students learned about political polling from a professional pollster. Simmons Elementary School Principal Tiffany Cook said she has talked to a city council member about developing a leadership program for students. “We’re still in the very early stages of that … but I think it’s got a lot of potential,” she added. Schools across the district are using a multi-tiered system of support so students are receiving services that “we layer on top of each other to meet the needs of kids,” explained Chief Academic Officer Jimmy Brehm. Instructional update During his monthly instructional update last Tuesday, Chief Academic Officer Jimmy Brehm told board members that work continues on strengthening the graduation policy at WCHS to “better reflect what we … want from a Woodford graduate.” Ongoing conversations with the high school’s site-based and curriculum committees are providing the district administrators with input on “what they would like to see with that policy,” he said. Additionally, Brehm said school district administrators have talked to local business leaders about what skills they’d like to see WCHS graduates possess so they are ready to fill jobs that will be created in the manufacturing industry with the arrival of new businesses, including More Than A Bakery and Lakeshore Learning Materials. Recognitions In observance of National School Board Recognition Month, Woodford County school board members were thanked for “helping provide outstanding educational experiences to our children,” said Hawkins. He said the local board’s “focus is always on what’s best for students.” Before reading a proclamation commemorating the contributions of the local school board members, Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle offered some words of appreciation to them. “I know being an elected person is sometimes not the easiest thing to do – especially when you are dealing with people’s children. And you do a wonderful job,” he said. School board members also received cards and letters from students across the district showing their appreciation. And the school district continued a tradition of donating a children’s book – in honor of the board members – to all four elementary school libraries and both branches of the Woodford County Library. Each library will receive a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein this year. Hawkins also thanked Food Service Coordinator Courtney Quire for doing “a phenomenal job” in preparing the food at Monday night’s reception honoring school board members Wilson, Edelen, Margie Cleveland, Sherri Springate and Karen Brock.