• By Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Wilson discusses Hawkins’ ‘rebuke’ of board’s decisions

Woodford County Board of Education Chair Ambrose Wilson IV said Monday that he wanted to address what he termed schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins’ “rebuke” of the board for its financial decisions and planning related to building a new high school. Hawkins told the board at its June 24 meeting that he was concerned “bonding (borrowing) at least $35 million on the initial phase of a new high school would jeopardize the long-term financial health of the district.” His words of caution came before a 3-2 vote to approve BG-1 documents seeking state approval for a $36.265 million high school project including $1.26 million in cash. Wilson said Hawkins’ pledge to fully support the board (as he has during his 11 years as superintendent) on its decisions related to moving forward with a new high school and do his best to make the project a success reminded him of his teen years. He and his brother mowed lawns, including one that their dad found for them. The brothers didn’t like their dad making a decision for them, said Wilson. “We often didn’t do it (the lawn) the best we could, and then we finally stopped doing it,” he continued. He said when it comes to building a new high school “we cannot do that effectively without the full support of the superintendent, and it’s the board’s responsibility to guarantee the success of this project that we have started. “I’ve got another 18 months on the board as chairman – I have only two agendas: one to lead the board the best I can through the days ahead and two is to ensure – as much as one person can ensure – that the new high school will meet the needs of our students.” He also pledged to work with the superintendent, “however during the next 18 months I will address any words or actions that are misleading with truth to the best of my ability.” In addressing what he termed some misconceptions about the duties of a schools superintendent and citizen concerns that Hawkins could stop a new high school from moving forward, Wilson explained that a superintendent is the “professional advisor” to a board of education on all matters, but works for the board. Wilson said he spoke to Hawkins on the Wednesday after the June 24 board meeting in which Wilson questioned Hawkins about his prepared statement to the board. “It was mainly about him considering my comments not to be civil. And I apologized to him for not being civil,” said Wilson. In response to Wilson’s “rebuke” of Hawkins sharing his concerns about the board’s decision to move forward with building a high school, board member Sherri Springate said she understood why the superintendent spoke out. “I did not feel rebuked,” said Springate. “I felt like the superintendent and, honestly … the other staff here (and) teachers, I feel like their opinions are valuable. And I have had multiple community members come up to thank me for … asking those questions, for being transparent, for doing all of that in front of the public. Even though that’s hard sometimes … But I do think it’s important for us to understand (the financial consequences of our decisions). We’re not financial managers.” Springate, who along with board Vice Chair Debby Edelen voted against approving documents to move forward with a $36.265 million high school, said it’s time to come together and work towards a goal of getting “the best high school we can possibly get,” which she said everyone wants. Non-discrimination The board voted unanimously on a first reading to add language to its policies and procedures that states the district does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Policies require a second reading, but changes in procedures do not.By Bob Vlach Woodford Sun Staff Woodford County Board of Education Chair Ambrose Wilson IV said Monday that he wanted to address what he termed schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins’ “rebuke” of the board for its financial decisions and planning related to building a new high school. Hawkins told the board at its June 24 meeting that he was concerned “bonding (borrowing) at least $35 million on the initial phase of a new high school would jeopardize the long-term financial health of the district.” His words of caution came before a 3-2 vote to approve BG-1 documents seeking state approval for a $36.265 million high school project including $1.26 million in cash. Wilson said Hawkins’ pledge to fully support the board (as he has during his 11 years as superintendent) on its decisions related to moving forward with a new high school and do his best to make the project a success reminded him of his teen years. He and his brother mowed lawns, including one that their dad found for them. The brothers didn’t like their dad making a decision for them, said Wilson. “We often didn’t do it (the lawn) the best we could, and then we finally stopped doing it,” he continued. He said when it comes to building a new high school “we cannot do that effectively without the full support of the superintendent, and it’s the board’s responsibility to guarantee the success of this project that we have started. “I’ve got another 18 months on the board as chairman – I have only two agendas: one to lead the board the best I can through the days ahead and two is to ensure – as much as one person can ensure – that the new high school will meet the needs of our students.” He also pledged to work with the superintendent, “however during the next 18 months I will address any words or actions that are misleading with truth to the best of my ability.” In addressing what he termed some misconceptions about the duties of a schools superintendent and citizen concerns that Hawkins could stop a new high school from moving forward, Wilson explained that a superintendent is the “professional advisor” to a board of education on all matters, but works for the board. Wilson said he spoke to Hawkins on the Wednesday after the June 24 board meeting in which Wilson questioned Hawkins about his prepared statement to the board. “It was mainly about him considering my comments not to be civil. And I apologized to him for not being civil,” said Wilson. In response to Wilson’s “rebuke” of Hawkins sharing his concerns about the board’s decision to move forward with building a high school, board member Sherri Springate said she understood why the superintendent spoke out. “I did not feel rebuked,” said Springate. “I felt like the superintendent and, honestly … the other staff here (and) teachers, I feel like their opinions are valuable. And I have had multiple community members come up to thank me for … asking those questions, for being transparent, for doing all of that in front of the public. Even though that’s hard sometimes … But I do think it’s important for us to understand (the financial consequences of our decisions). We’re not financial managers.” Springate, who along with board Vice Chair Debby Edelen voted against approving documents to move forward with a $36.265 million high school, said it’s time to come together and work towards a goal of getting “the best high school we can possibly get,” which she said everyone wants. Non-discrimination The board voted unanimously on a first reading to add language to its policies and procedures that states the district does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Policies require a second reading, but changes in procedures do not.

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