WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (3/20/13) - The Webster County School Board took another step towards officially beginning work on the middle school project Monday night when they okayed two requests from Clotfelter-Samokar, the engineering firm that is overseeing the project.
The first item was to approve the surveying of land around the wing of the high school that will eventually house the middle school. Before work begins in that area, which will primarily be the middle school parking lot, the school must document existing underground utilities that might be run through that area as well as develop a plan for elevation and drainage.
The second item was to approve the changing of one of the science rooms in the blueprint to an art room. According to a representative with Clotfelter-Samokar, the current design calls for three science rooms while the middle school would share the art room with the high school. This move was a suggestion that came back from the Kentucky Department of Education, where the district’s construction permit, or BG-1, is under consideration.
The WCHS site based committee was on hand for a dialogue session with board members. High school principal Tim Roy began by detailing the school’s current focus on preparing kids for success in high school and beyond.
“This year we’re focusing on seniors,” Roy said. “As we expand we will encompass all students. We will know every score of ever assessment test the kids have taken, such as the ACT, ASVAB and Compass. We will know where students are on preparation for life after high school.”
Roy said that this year, the focus on college and career readiness has brought the entire Dixon campus together. The high school administration has worked very closely with the ag department and tech school on several initiatives and to make it easier for students to take classes at the adjoining Area Technology Center.
He also said that when Webster County Middle School opens in the fall of 2014, both the high school and tech school administration are eagerly looking to get the middle schoolers involved.
“We want to get the kids into the classes and keep them there,” Roy said.
“Not all children are going to go to college,” added board chairman Jeff Pettit. “Some will join the workforce, and it's as important for them to be ready as it is for someone who is going to college.”
Roy and the SBDM council also discussed the need for both an onsite College/Career Readiness Coordinator and a Curriculum Coordinator. Currently the College/Career Readiness Coordinator works only 35 days a year and is paid for by funds from Trojan Academy.
The Curriculum Coordinator is filled by a teacher who spends just 55 minutes a day on the job.
“But needs are significant and funds are small,” Roy said.
“We want to give as much money to the SBDM as we can,” said Jeff Pettit. “Unfortunately we’re limited on what we have available.”
Pettit and board member Tim McCormick suggested the creation of a combination grant writer and curriculum coordinator could be a solution, pointing out that Crittenden County recently received a grant for $600,000 for their middle school.
“We would have to front fund the position, but it could very well pay for itself,” Pettit said.
No decisions were made on the subject.
Webster County Food Service Director Shane Bosaw made a presentation to the board. First he told them that they had recently received a $150,000 Obesity Grant, but it’s not for funds that can be used at the school. Instead the money goes to the University of Kentucky to fund research on childhood obesity. At the completion of the research a larger grant is expected to help schools involved revamp their food services.
Bosaw announced the creation of the Webster County Jr. Chef team. Consumer Science teacher Traci Mattingly will serve as the coach. The team will compete locally against teams from surrounding counties, and then have an opportunity to compete at the state fair.
The board approved two proposals from Mr. Bosaw. The first was to allow food services to spend between $20,000 and $200,000 of its allotted funding to buy kitchen equipment that will be needed at the Annex (the cafeteria that currently serves Dixon Elementary and WCHS) when the middle school opens.
Another approved proposal was for food services to spend between @20,000 and $40,000 for improvements to the Sebree Elementary dish room. This includes purchase of a new dishwasher, estimated to cost between $35,000 and $40,000. The current dishwasher was installed in 1987 and had a life expectancy of only 15 years.
Bosaw also suggested making two changes to the food service staff. He asked that the current food services manager at the annex be renamed Annex Personnel Manager and that a second position called Annex Office Manager be created. The creation would cost only approximately $1,200 because someone is already doing the job.
There was still no decision on the Clay sidewalk and playground, but the board continues to discuss options. According to superintendant Dr. James Kemp, repairing the current sidewalk is impossible because it is not on school property. Law prohibits the school from spending money on projects not on its own property.
Building a new sidewalk will likely cost the board between $60,000 and $70,000. Moving the playground onto the hill near the school by the basketball court will cost approximately $25,000.
With the job most likely not getting underway until after the school year, the board instructed Dr. Kemp and Dennis Parrish to continue researching their options.
Assistant Superintendant Riley Ramsey reported to the board that the fiber optics project was well underway.
Chairman Pettit wanted to make it clear to the public that the district is not running fiber optics to the former Slaughters Elementary school. Part of the project is that it brings fiber optic capability not only to the schools, but the towns in the county as well. Work going on in the area of the former school is actually to create an access point for the city of Slaughters.
The board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 8, 2013 in the board conference room was moved to the Annex.
With nothing further to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.
J-E News Editor
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