|By Al Owens
Meeting in regular
session last week the Lewis County Board of Education entered closed session to discuss a
proposal from the local Health Department to purchase the lot in front of the Central
Office on Plummer Lane.
Speaking for the Health Department, Dr. Karl Smith told the Board that the report the
current facility would be torn down and a new building erected at that location was
premature. He said that was actually the last alternative.
Smith explained that rebuilding on the current location on Fairlane Drive would require
the old building to be torn down. A lot of grading would have to be done and the
department would have to move to a temporary location at great expense.
He said that the project was about a $1.6 million enterprise.
Smith said a committee appointed for the purpose had checked some other locations. The
land near Bee Mart on the AA Highway is priced out of their reach and other property
owners are not willing to sell.
The doctor informed the board that funding for the project was possible through two
$500,000 grants plus another $600,000 coming from another source through the Appalachian
Regional Commission. In addition to that the current location with the present structure
was appraised for $105,000 in 1988, and that is another source of revenue if the Health
Department can sell that property.
After re-entering open session the board moved to refuse the Health Departments
proposal to buy the property. Board Chairman Joe LeMaster explained that the planning
committees have the requested lot under consideration for several potential projects in
the future and selling it would not be in the best interest of the Board of Education.
The board approved the first reading of one section of the Policies and Procedures
Manual. That section deals with procedures concerning students with disabilities. Second
reading on the rest of the Policies and Procedures was given and approved.
Superintendent Maurice Reeder, Jr., recommended that the issue of terminating Head
Start transportation be tabled until the boards next session. He said that when a
Head Start student gets on one of our state buses that bus becomes a federal bus and must
meet federal regulations. That means that every child weighing more than 50 pounds would
have to have seat belts and those weighing less than 50 pounds must have safety
restraints. These must be installed by Jan. 20, 2004.
Reeder explained that the seats on every Lewis County school bus carrying even one Head
Start pupil would have to be replaced.
He told the board that most counties do not provide transportation for Head Start
students but Lewis County has in the past because of the size and rural nature of the
county and because so many parents had to drive long distances to get to their jobs.
Transportation Director Robert Hall was not at the meeting, and the superintendent
wanted him to explain the situation in more detail. The board moved to table the issue
until next months regular session.
The Board approved a contract with Qore Property Services in Lexington at a cost of
Reeder said that the state legislature passed a law requiring special inspection for
certain things in all new construction. He said that referred to such things as mortar and
cement, welding of steel and that kind of thing. The architects for the Lewis County
Middle School Addition and Renovation Project recommended Qore Property Services to meet
The Board approved multiple emergency teaching positions in order to fill some
positions with teachers not yet fully certified. Reeder noted that the school tries to
find the best qualified personnel to fill every class but sometimes the teachers are not
Al Owens/Lewis County Herald
Barbara Kennedy, Director of Federal Programs, describes the
success of the 21st Century Summer School Program to the Lewis County Board of Education
at its regular session last week.
In that case they find the best alternatives available. Teachers are hired to teach
those courses if they are pursuing certification in that particular field.
The board gave second reading and approval to the alternative school handbook.
Barbara Kennedy reported to the board on the success of the 21st Century
Program conducted in ESS this summer. A $450,000 21st Century Learning Community Grant
made the program possible. The grant is spread over three years with $150,000 allotted for
Kennedy lauded Gigi Wamsley and Nancy Dillow for their leadership during the 18-day
summer school stint. She also praised the entire staff for working to make the program so
Kennedy told the board that the school broke numerous attendance records. She said they
served around 600 kids. During that time 167 students had perfect attendance.
The program consists of three components.
The academic component was comprised of a science camp, math and reading and computers.
The sports component involved soccer, volleyball, swimming and that sort of thing.
The arts and humanities component involved a lot of practical living vocational studies
kind of activities.
Kennedy said, "We did a lot of hands on work creating different kinds of art
projects, and we tied that in with the Kentucky CORE content program. So we felt real good
She said that they surveyed all the parents that had children involved in the summer
program and they were overwhelming in their positive responses.
Kennedy related that student safety was an incredible issue this summer. In the
interest of safety the school ended up hiring a lot more staff than initially planned.
She pointed out that both the drug and alcohol prevention program and the violence
prevention program worked out beautifully.
This summer the educators added a parent training component. Penny Hall attended
training for this component and will follow up on it on Tuesday nights during the coming
Kennedy said that over all she was well pleased with the program this summer and
attributed its success to the hard work of the entire staff.