By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
A new member of the Knox County Board of Education was named last week.
During the regular monthly meeting of the board, it was announced that Gordon Hinkle, 48, of Barbourville, will finish the term of former Board chair Carla Jordan, who stepped down earlier this year.
Hinkle will assume the position of board member rather than board chair, as the sitting members elected Merrill Smith as its chair.
A U.S. Army retiree, Hinkle is part-owner of an independent insurance agency.
Hinkle said he officially begins his term Jan. 6 – he will have to run to retain his seat in the November 2014 election.
In other board news and business:
- Jim Sparks, with Trane, again attended the meeting last week to update members on the progress of the performance agreement.
“We are quickly approaching our final completion at (GR) Hampton (Elementary School),” Sparks said.
He explained that contractors working other projects “are ready for us this week” at the school. “We have people in place to work (over the holiday weekend),” Sparks said.
He also told members that the school’s solar energy system “is up and running.”
“Everyone seems pleased so far,” he said.
At Jesse D. Lay Elementary School, Sparks said materials would be ready today, but that work will hold off until the Christmas break. Board members agreed.
He said the Dewitt Elementary School system is also “up and running.”
“It’s working the way we said it would,” Sparks said, adding the “tweaks” will be worked out.
“It’s the same at Lynn Camp Elementary (School),” he said. “It’s complete as it stands, (but) there will be some minor details to review.
Smith asked about a heating situation with some of the classrooms.
“It’s a drafty school,” Sparks explained. “And it was tricking the thermostat.”
He added they would correct the problem.
No board decision was required for this presentation.
- David Samokar, president of Clotfelter-Samofar Architects, was also present at the board meeting to update members on various projects.
At GR Hampton, he said the contractor continues to work on the front restrooms.
“(They’re) waiting on the tile pieces to come in,” Samokar said. “We’re just about ready to get out of those bathrooms.”
He said that as soon as those restrooms are complete, a punchlist would be the next step. “From a scheduling standpoint we probably should be done by Christmas,” he said, adding the punchlist of minor items to complete would be made in January.
Concerning the roof replacement projects at Dewitt and Flat Lick Elementary School, Samokar said both were complete.
He said they are in negotiations with the contract with the insurance company for Dewitt’s roof.
Adding a ladder in Flat Lick’s gymnasium is something else yet to be complete, he said.
No board decisions were required for this presentation.
-The board unanimously agreed to join approximately 120 school districts from across the state in requesting schools funds be reinstated.
Several state funds have been either severely reduced or eliminated completely since 2008, particularly SEEK (Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky) monies.
Other school districts in the Tri-County area have also unanimously approved resolutions to band together for more school dollars.
“(We want) to encourage the General Assembly to work with local boards of education (to budget) adequate funding for student education,” said school Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles.
Board member Charles Merida motioned for approval, with a second from Board member Dexter Smith.
- Board members unanimously approved field trips which require a private carrier for out-of-town destinations – with one request.
Dexter Smith asked Sprinkles whether a safety and/or background check was performed on any of the private carriers.
“I’m not sure,” Sprinkles said. “(We ought) to begin to look at that and maybe have them provide information on their safety record.”
Board members agreed.
Dexter Smith motioned to approve the trips, with a stipulation that the carriers’ safety records are reviewed. Merida seconded that motion.
- Two second attempts to get the contractor paid for the Dewitt and Flat Lick renovations have been tabled again.
Merida explained they have been negotiating for three months with the same contractor. “We are finally getting some communication,” he said. “It’s a start, but it’s not where we need to be.”
He made two separate motions to table each issue, with seconds from Dexter Smith. Board members were unanimous with these decisions.
- The pay application for the GR Hampton was unanimously approved by the board. Sprinkles said the school has been “looked over” and that everything appeared to be in order.
A 5 percent retaining account was requested, but not approved.
Merrill Smith motioned to pay the contractor for this work, with a second from Board vice-chair Sam Watts. Board members approved holding a 10 percent retainer.
- It’s back to the drawing board concerning hiring a contractor to take care of the school system’s athletic fields.
Sprinkles explained to board members they did advertise in accordance to the law, but that only one bidder put his name in for the job – the same as last year. “The bid is almost identical to last year,” he said, adding, “We’d like to see one more bidder.”
Board members decided to advertise for bids again. Merida motioned to begin the six- to seven-week process, with a second from Dexter Smith.
The board was unanimous with this decision.
The next board of education meeting is slated for Dec. 17.
By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
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