Board to petition education commissioner for control over area technology center

Welding instructor Monty Bingham is shown demonstrating a skill to a student.

The Knox County Board of Education is seeking to add the Knox County Area Technology Center to its list of schools.

On Monday night, the Board authorized chairman Dr. Thomas Ashburn to submit a petition to education commissioner Dr. Jason Glass at the Kentucky Department of Education for local control of the school.

Currently, the school district owns the facility, however, the courses and staff are decided upon by the state office of career and technical education.  In this move, the school district would gain complete local control of the school including the staff.  Part of the agreement with the Department of Education would include full funding for the operation of the school during the first year and seventy-five percent each year thereafter.

Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles explained to the Board that this is the first step towards an improved facility for student learning.  By having local control of the school, the district will be eligible for additional funding opportunities that originally were not available because the school was operated by the state, even though the building belonged to Knox County.  Sprinkles also noted that this means that the Board can look at the career programs being offered and assist with each area’s need.

Sprinkles also stated that a memorandum of agreement will be signed between the Knox County Board and the Barbourville Independent Board so that their students may continue to benefit from the courses that are already being offered.

The letter to petition local control of the area technology center is not an instant approval.  The request will be reviewed by Dr. Glass and the legal department at the Department of Education.  Once the commissioner authorizes local control, the office of career and technical education staff will work with Knox County to begin the transfer process.  The anticipated date that all operations will be transferred to Knox County is June 30.