The January 27, 2020 meeting of the Knox County Board of Education was held at the Board of Education Annex building in Barbourville.
Communication items filled the first hour of the meeting as the Board, teachers, and athletes were all recognized for their recent achievements and contributions to the school district.
- G.R. Hampton’s “five-star” kindergarten students led the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the meeting. Each received an American flag coloring book and a hardcover reading book for their participation.
- January is School Board Recognition Month in Kentucky and other states. Knox County’s members are among 850+ that serve students and their communities in the Commonwealth. Mr. Jimmy Hendrickson, Carrie Runyon, Dr. Thomas Ashburn, and Kevin Hinkle were presented with an engraved plaque that showed photos of their interactions with students and words of appreciation for their service to Knox County. Member Charles Merida was unable to attend the meeting.
- Three Knox teachers recently earned National Board Certification, one of the teaching profession’s highest certificate honors. Ms. Olivia Holstein and Ms. Sheila Mills received a plaque from the Board to recognize the achievement and to thank them for their work in the classroom. Superintendent Sprinkles and communications director Shelton both echoed words of praise and commented on the rigorous process that National Board requires. Ms. Tabitha Frederick from Lay Elementary was unable to attend and will receive her plaque at a later date.
- Athletic teams brought excitement and laughter to the audience and Board as the district champion boys’ basketball teams and cheerleaders were recognized. Central Elementary’s A team boys, Lay Elementary’s B team boys, and Central Elementary’s A and B team cheerleaders introduced themselves to the audience and Board while receiving a certificate from Board members.
Amanda Gardner presented one of the final updates on the Trane performance contract work occurring in the district. The final work that is being completed is the computer controls for the lights installed. Trane specialists will be working with district technology and maintenance on how to control those systems. The final pay application presented and approved for this project.
Scott Noel provided an overview of projects going on in the district including new projects such as the Knox Central tennis court project on the Lay Elementary campus. Noel said that the recent application sent to KDE for the Lynn Camp greenhouse project came back approved as a maintenance project that the district can move forward on. He stated that the local planning facility will convene most likely in April to begin a review of the district’s needs. The facility plan is approved by the Board and sent to KDE for the Kentucky Board approval.
G.R. Hampton principal Brian Frederick and Lay Elementary principal Keith Broughton presented principal reports to the Board. Both reports contained data comparing reading and mathematics scores from last year to the current i-Ready test results. Both schools were confident that the scores will continue to increase before spring testing, with many i-Ready scores surpassing last year’s state accountability results. Each school’s celebrations from the star-system accountability reporting, attendance, and culture were shared.
Superintendent Sprinkles and communications director Shelton presented the Board and meeting guests with the first look at the district’s Portrait of a Graduate. For the past one and half years, the district has been collecting data from stakeholders about the needs of future employees. Our focus was on what are the hopes, aspirations, and dreams that our community has for our young people? Through an inclusive process, the Portrait of a Graduate becomes the community’s collective vision for its students. Driven by the community, we will be launching Portrait of a Graduate in all schools this month with the work just beginning on making it a part of our culture and instruction.
Shelton presented the Board with a quick update to the district’s Vision 2020 strategic plan. Each month for the next three months one of the main objectives (academic, culture, and operations) will be reported on with successes and areas for continued improvement. Work will take place over the summer and the first of August to define what the strategic plan for the future needs to include.
Highlights of Action Items
The Board set the meeting calendar for the calendar year ahead. Except for cases of holidays and summer vacation, all meetings will take place on the fourth Monday of the month at 6:45 pm. The meeting location was set at the Annex but will be amended as needed to conduct meetings at schools.
The election of a chairman and vice-chairman for the calendar year was the next order of business. Jimmy Hendrickson will serve a second term as chairman and Dr. Thomas Ashburn will serve the role of vice-chairman.
Discussions and actions included a focus on the next school year for several items:
- The Board approved member Kevin Hinkle to serve on the calendar committee.
- Finance officer Gertrude Smith presented the staffing policy. No changes were made to the policy with current student to teacher ratios, support staff to school size ratios, etc. remaining the same for positions allotted. Superintendent Sprinkles did make the suggestion to the Board that they consider changing the extended days that elementary and assistant principals to increase their contract to 230 days. The change will take place in the 2020-2021 school year.
- Smith presented the draft budget to the Board. The Draft budget is the first step of the fiscal year budget cycle for a school district in Kentucky.
The draft budget is just by name what it says: It’s a draft of what we expect to take place. The budget presented is basically a duplication of the current year budget, updated with a few minor changes, and taking into consideration any other general fund expenditures that are of significant cost. Most of the adjustments were requirements for workers compensation assessments, lease and bond payments, and increases to the classified CERS rate.
- Advertisement for bid for network services and infrastructure materials and labor for the year ahead. Both Dewitt and Girdler are not part of the KETS network due to their rural locations therefore fiber is leased to those locations.
- A statement of assurance with KDE to receive 20% SEEK funds to operate the Knox County ATC. Funds may only be used for general upkeep and infrastructure improvements.
In the area of teaching and learning, the Board discussed and took action on:
- Approving the Reading Recovery MOA agreement.
- Approved the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan to be submitted to KDE.
- Approved a partnership agreement with the University of the Cumberlands for dual credit instruction.
After hearing updates from Scott Noel on the Knox Central tennis court project, the Board reviewed bids received. The low bid was selected with the vendor being Jave, LLC located in Lexington. Following the meeting, the Board met with coaches and supporters to discuss requirements and items that the program needs including the number of courts and lightning options. The Board will continue the discussion and make any needed changes at a future meeting.
Other items approved include:
- Knox Central softball team’s trip to the Cal Ripken Experience in spring.
- A settlement agreement with an individual over damaged property.
- A shortened school day/week waiver for a special needs student.
- Approval to submit a waiver to the Kentucky Board to exempt the Knox Board from charter school training requirements until a charter school application is submitted.
The next meeting of the Knox County Board will take place on February 24, 6:45 pm, at the Board Annex.
The official minutes of the January meeting will be voted on at the February 24th meeting.
Video will be posted this week at kcps.media once accessibility features are included.