It was the first regularly scheduled meeting on a Thursday evening for the Knox County Board of Education following changes to their meeting schedule approved in September. It was also the first evening that members were trained on new software from the Kentucky School Board Association’s eMeeting. Prindle Hinton, KSBA consultant, opened the meeting by demonstrating features of the online platform that records votes, generates minutes, and allows for notes and attachments.
The district’s new logo and mission statement were introduced by communications director Frank Shelton. Shelton explained that the process involved several steps including a survey of all stakeholders, a work group meeting, and work group surveys leading up to Thursday’s launch. The mission statement was announced as “Empowering students to believe, achieve, and succeed.”. The three core words, believe, achieve, and succeed were common throughout the work group’s meeting and align with Superintendent Ledford’s vision of becoming a Top 10% performing school district. The district’s new logo consists of an outline of Knox County’s geographic borders, much like the prior logo. The committee wished to keep the county in the new design to represent who we are. Inside the logo, there are three major items. On the left you will find book pages in colors representing each high school, a graduate in the middle with open arms forming a checkmark type design, and gears in the right corner. Each of which aligns with believe, achieve, succeed. More information about the mission statement and other assets related to it will be shared in the upcoming days.
Scott Noel with Summit Architectural Services provided an update on several on-going and new projects in the district. A brief overview includes:
- The Flat Lick Waste Water Plant is set for installation this spring. The contractor will be bringing all materials on-site so that the installation can take place once weather conditions are right for the installation to take place.
- Two quotes were received for the Lynn Camp greenhouse project. The board will be reviewing the quotes and determining which items will be needed for the new install. Noel shared that it will be more economical if the Board removes the existing greenhouse rather than one of the vendors being required to do so. The greenhouse should be installed by spring.
- An update on the Knox Central tennis courts was provided regarding punch-list items that needed repair. A concrete sidewalk that was already corrected once will need a third look to ensure that water drainage can occur. Repairs to the original side walk made the new one higher than the tennis court surface, trapping water.
- Lynn Camp’s heating and cooling system was also a topic of discussion. When the school was built, the HVAC units were installed first with other infrastructure (water lines, sprinklers, data, etc.) being installed underneath the ceiling mounted units. The new units will not be placed in the location of the old ones to allow easier access by the district’s maintenance department. Board members questioned whether the old units should be abandoned in place or removed. Noel said that he would get cost estimates on removing the units.
The Board approved Summit Architectural Services as the firm to handle the Knox County Career and Technical Center project and field turf projects at Knox Central and Lynn Camp.
Healthy at School Updates
The Board authorized Superintendent Ledford to make changes to the district’s Healthy at School plan, including masking, as needed. The superintendent presented each board member with a brief summary of how the masking/face covering part of the plan will work beginning immediately. Highlights of that plan include:
- Each Friday the district’s online dashboard of active positive cases and quarantines for students and staff will be updated. Previously the dashboard was updated on Wednesday.
- The masking requirements for the following week will be determined based on that week’s report. One exception is for students who ride a bus. CDC guidelines state that all bus riders (students and drivers) must remain masked.
- Mitigation Phase 1: Students will be permitted to drop their mask when seated in the classroom. Anytime the student is walking/in motion, they will be required to pull up their mask.
- Mitigation Phase 2: Parents/families will have the choice of whether or not their child wears a mask.
The benchmark to determine whether phase 1 or phase 2 will be used is based on incidence rates within the school district. If the district experiences eight cases or less daily for seven consecutive days, phase 2 will be used. If the district experiences eight cases or more daily for seven consecutive days, phase 1 will be used. Any student exceptions that were granted to wearing a mask will remain in place.
Once the district’s COVID dashboard is updated on Friday, an announcement will be made whether the next week will be phase 1 or phase 2 of mitigation strategies involving masking. Information will be sent home to families explaining this plan and ways that the district will communicate it each week.
Other Board Actions with Discussion
- Computer networking equipment was declared surplus as new equipment has been installed throughout the district. The lot of 161 units will be conducted by mailed in bid with the bid opening on November 17.
- The district’s drug testing policy was updated to reflect changes in the offenses and sanctions. Previously, for each offense, the student would be suspended from participating in extracurricular activities or driving on campus. For each level of offense the word “or” was replaced with “and”. Now, students will be suspended from both extracurricular and driving on campus for the duration of their discipline.
- Several contracts and agreements were approved. A memorandum of agreement was renewed with Eastern Kentucky University for dual credit services. The Board approved services from Presence Learning to assist with special education testing. An amendment to an existing contract with Langauge Link will allow for video interpretation during meetings when those services are needed. The district’s annual approval of Flexible Benefit plans for employees was approved.
- Field trips for Knox Central baseball during spring break and Knox Central girls basketball during winter break were approved.
- Knox Central’s request for a new LED marquee to replace the panels on the existing sign at the corner of US 25 E and Panther Way was approved. The current panels have large sections of pixels that have burned out causing the signage to be unusable.
This is a summary of action at the October 28 meeting. Official meeting minutes will be available after the Board approves them at their next meeting. The next scheduled meeting of the Knox County Board of Education is set for Thursday, November 18, 6:30 pm, at the Board of Education Annex.
Video from the October 28 meeting is available for viewing on the kcps.media website.