A short meeting with lots to discuss, Knox BOE conducts last meeting of 2020

Members shown seated during December meeting with Superintendent video conferencing

With only six action items on the agenda, two being to adopt and adjourn, Monday night’s meeting of the Knox County Board of Education was anything except short.

Members shown seated during December meeting with Superintendent video conferencing

Communication Items

Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles, attending the meeting via videoconference, started the meeting by recognizing outgoing Board member Charles Merida.  During his time on the Knox Board he has served as both vice chair and chairman.  Sprinkles shared that “he has been an excellent member of this school board and a very active participant.  He’s always been one to roll up his sleeves and do whatever is necessary to help a school.”

Sheila Barnard, representing Knox County’s Gear Up grant, attended via videoconference with several school level personnel to give an update on the grant funded program.  “Since March as you all know it’s been a trying time for everyone in the schools, so for us to keep in contact with our students we’ve utilized the Internet.”  Barnard continued with a list of resources developed on the Internet for students including Google Classrooms, resource lists, and Facebook pages. Providing direct tutoring and assistance is another service Gear Up has been able to do remotely.  “We sit in on Google Meets with all the teachers, but mostly in our science and math because that’s where we see the need […] and that’s very helpful to a lot of students.”  Barnard and the Gear Up staff are looking for ways to better engage students and get better participation in online live instruction sessions and tutoring.

Prior to a presentation by the Kentucky School Boards Association, Superintendent Sprinkles took time to share with the Board that they had each received a written copy of his intent to retire effective July 1, 2021.  KSBA is one educational partner that provides superintendent search services.  Tim Eaton, a facilitator for KSBA and the facilitator that the Board last used when Sprinkles was hired, conducted a brief explanation of the services and the process via audio for the board members.

The process has nine main points along a timeline from start to finish.  The first will be to conduct a planning meeting with the Board in early 2021.  During that time the Board will develop recruitment criteria for the advertisement of the position.  From there, the district and local educational groups will select members to serve on a search committee.  The search committee will then review applications and present to the Board the information wishes to receive as per their charge, or goal, for the screening committee.  The process concludes as KSBA, or the search consultant, works with the Board to complete the search leading up to naming a new superintendent.  Additional details will be posted on the KCPS website in the upcoming weeks and will be updated in a timeline style format.


Highlights of Action Items

The Board approved the monthly actions by consent which was amended to include Superintendent Sprinkles’ letter of intent to retire effective July 1, 2021.

The Board approved advertising for bids for mowing services for 2021.  Sprinkles shared that the Board may want to consider two bid winners, one that would service western Knox County and one to serve eastern Knox County depending on the bids received and their business location.

A one time reading and approval of Policy 03.2 was conducted which eliminated language that substitute employees must serve a probationary period before funds would be paid into their retirement system.  As of early December, twenty-three other districts removed this language from their policy.

The last action item was to discuss and/or approve the contract with KSBA for Superintendent Search Services.  After discussion among board members and the board attorney about options available and other routes, and upon positive reviews from the service KSBA provides, it was voted 5-0 to enter into a contract with them for search services.

The next meeting of the Knox County Board of Education is set for Monday, January 25, 2021, 6:45 pm, at the Knox County Board of Education Annex.  Official minutes of the December meeting will be available once approved by the Board at the next meeting.

This meeting was limited to a maximum of ten (10) people, including school board members and staff, pursuant to the Coronavirus Guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; the 03/12/2020 Meeting Protocols for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) issued by the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, KRS 61.810(1)(k), KRS 61.826, OAG 20-05 and SB 150. 
A copy of the tentative agenda follows and is available for download as a PDF.

Moment of Silence
Pledge of Allegiance

A. Communications
i. Recognition

B. Reports to the Board

i. Architect Construction Updates
ii. Gear Up Program Update (via Zoom)
iii. Superintendent’s Learning@School and Learning@Home Update
iv. Presentation from KSBA

I. Adopt Agenda

II. Actions by Consent
A. Acknowledgment of Financial Statements and Financial Reports, Bills and Claims, Previous Board Meeting Minutes, Superintendent’s Personnel Report, Maintenance Report, Field Trip Report, Fundraisers, and Request to Use District Property.

III. District Facilities and Operations
A. Discuss and/or Take Action on Bid Advertisement for Mowing Services 2021

IV. Governance and Leadership
A. Discuss and/or Take Action on amendment to Policy 03.2 – one reading only pursuant to Board Policy 01.5 emergency reading
B. Discuss and/or Take Action on entering into a contract with KSBA for Superintendent Search Services

V. Teaching and Learning

VI. Resources and Support Systems

VII. Other Action Items with Discussion

VIII. Adjournment