TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

August 22, 2012

Corbin schools have smooth opening

Over 95 percent of students trained in digital citizenship

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer

Over two weeks into the new school year, board members of Corbin Independent Schools were told Tuesday the new year has started seamlessly.

In a special session of the Corbin Board of Education, Superintendent Ed McNeel gave high marks for the ease the classes have gone since school began Aug. 6.

“Today is day 21, and I can’t remember a smoother opening. We had 646 kids in school today… We have a great bunch of teachers and staff, and that’s the key,” McNeel said at the meeting held at the Corbin Education Center.

The session was also a first for board meetings with information like the agenda and other documents no longer on paper, but on computer.

“We have ‘gone green’ and we’re attempting to go digital on blackboard this evening,” said Board Chair Kim Croley at the start of the meeting.

Afterward, Croley said the district went paperless to free the need for loads of paper being used.

The district continues to train and educate staff and students in what’s called “effect Digital Citizenship” — with lessons including rules, regulations and Internet safety — as part of the Corbin schools’ implementing a “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD policy.

Assistant Superintendent Dave Cox reported over 95 percent of the students have been trained in digital citizenship, except for Corbin High School, which would be trained by the end of next week.

“Corbin High’s using an in-depth program called ‘idrivedigital’ software, which is more detailed and takes longer to learn,” Cox said.

Cox’s report mentioned that school personnel have been instructed to not allow BYOD procedures to take place until students and staff have been trained in Internet safety, with the schools agreed upon curriculum.

Tax rates were also set by the board, with approval given to levy the property tax rate of 69.3 cents per $100 of assessed value on motor vehicles and watercraft for the 2013 calendar year in Whitley and Knox counties. Board members also approved the recommendation to set the 2012-13 tax rates at the compensating tax rate of 54.1 cents on real property and 54.1 cents on personal property.

Approval was also given to a memorandum of agreement with Williamsburg Independent Schools and Laurel County Schools, providing an energy manager for the new school year, with Williamsburg Independent serving as the fiscal agent, and approving the job description for the position. In addition, board members approved the purchase of furniture for Corbin High School from Virco for $153,002.30, to be paid for with Corbin High School Phase 2 construction funds. Also approved was the 2011-2012 annual financial report, and they accepted approval from the Federal Communications Commission on granting a license for radio station WRHR-FM (Red 95.3).

Permission to apply for three grants was also given the green light by the board. One is a $150,000 Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant from the U.S. Department of Education to purchase books, technology and professional development for literacy projects in the district. Another is a $10,000 National Endowment of the Arts grant to provide evidence-based art programs for the schools. The third is a $6,000 Toyota Born Learning grant, to provide family workshops on literacy.

But both McNeel and Croley raised concerns on what was called a “red flag” situation involving funding for school nurses. Croley said county health departments are linked to the Medicaid program, and that for years, Medicaid paid for those programs until Nov. 1, 2011, when managed care programs took over.

“They are (managed care programs) not paying for health department programs… Parents need to call their state representatives and state senators in Frankfort and tell them to contact the state Medicaid Commissioner to get payment to our county health departments,” Croley noted.

Tuesday’s special meeting was held after the regular meeting originally scheduled for last Thursday was postponed. It marked the first time the board session was held at the new home of the Corbin Education Center on South Main Street.

“My vision as principal are two things. One, we’ve got to try to get our students to learn a trade in vocational and technical schools. Second, our kids need leadership skills and discipline. I hope to have an ROTC program here… We’ve got a beautiful building that our students and staff can take pride in,” said new Corbin Education Center Principal Tom Greer, as he welcomed board members.

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