HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (12/19/2011) – The regular meeting of the Hopkins County Board of Education was anything but routine. One citizen questioned the board and tried to engage the board in a question and answer session regarding the new Career and Technology Center. Mr. Embry’s attempt to engage in a Q & A session was cut short by attorney Keith Cartwright who advised Embry that he was allotted three minutes to make statements or ask questions; but, the board was not compelled to answer him directly in open meeting. Embry produced photos that he claimed substantial damage to the new building due to ground settlement and wanted answers of why that site was chosen for the new school. He said the “whole thing is a mistake. You just don’t build on it” he said referring to building on reclaimed land.
Steve Gilliam, Director of Facilities and Safety, for the HCSD said that they were trying to monitor the new building for continuing settling. He said the site is being surveyed and that a contract to drill down and see what was going on would begin next week. Gilliam said that all equipment had been removed from the site and that there was security plus stepped up patrols by Kentucky State Police and the Hopkins County Sheriff’s deputies. “We should have a better understanding of what is going on by February.” He said. A structural engineer is also being hired to address the problem and recommend the repair needed.
Gilliam also noted that the new building has 96 expansion joints to allow for building movement and slight settling. “We have crack monitors on the bottom and top of each of those expansion joints.” Gilliam added. Both Gilliam and Superintendent James Lee Stevens assured SurfKY News that the building was insured by Traveler’s Insurance for ground movement and subsidence. The $9,000,000 building may still be completed by April.
In other business, the Board heard reports from Rick Larson, principal of Browning Springs about steps being taken to address deficiencies discovered in testing by No Child Left Behind. On focus for the 420 student facility is improved writing skills. He said that the school was using Rosetta Stone to teach students foreign languages. Larson brought Lynsey Miller who is working with student deficient in math. Miller said she was using specialized, computerized math tutoring programs plus one-on-one instruction to help students catch up.
Hanson Elementary principal, Jon Wells, reported that Hanson had met its NCLB goals but still had room for improvement in several areas. He pointed out that classes often visit with residents of the Veterans Center. Wells said that the demographic of Hanson was changing “When I came to Hanson in 2008, we had 28% of our children on “free or reduced lunch” program. Now we have 38%.”
Geoffrey Baily, principal of Grapevine, said that he had 84% participation in the “free or reduced lunch” program which was up from 62% a few years ago. Baily said that the school was working on several areas to improve performance including “after school programs” to improve reading scores. “We make no excuses” he said.
Karen Macky, principal of Earlington Elementary, said that her school was 81% on the “free or reduced lunch” program and that the school was experiencing growth. Enrollment at Earlington is at an all time high. “Now we are looking at attendance.” She said. Macky was optimistic with increasing parental involvement.
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