By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
It may only be five cents, but a nickel can add up helping local school districts in Kentucky help build their facilities.
In the case of Corbin Independent Schools, those nickels added up to $2.1 million in the 2013-14 school year.
The Corbin Board of Education received a financial review of the Kentucky Nickel for School Facilities program during their regular meeting Thursday held at Corbin Middle School.
Both Superintendent Ed McNeel, and the district’s Treasurer and Finance Director, Alicia Logan, noted the board wanted the review to provide information for their benefit.
The Corbin district gets the money by levying a five cents equivalent for $100 of assessed property. In some cases, that nickel receives funding equalization from the state.
The review pointed out there’s seven “nickels” in Kentucky which can be levied by local districts over the past years, which can be used for school facilities. But some of those nickels had requirements that every district in the state did not qualify to levy, or were for just a specific year.
What the Corbin schools have are the first three nickels — the FSPK (Facilities Support Program of Kentucky) nickel, the Original Growth Nickel, and the Second Growth Nickel. These are the three nickels that netted the $2.1 million this school year.
The FSPK nickel lets the district participate in the state’s SFCC, or School Facilities Construction Commission’s, offers of assistance. In addition, it allows the Corbin district to receive funding equalization from the state.
In 2013-14, the district generated $272,075 from local taxes from that first nickel. The state equalization kicked in with $659,699, making a total of $931,774.
The second nickel is called the Original Growth Nickel, and can be levied by districts like Corbin that have a growing student population. In October 2003, the Corbin school board levied this nickel, which generated $272,075 for the district in 2013-14.
Unlike the first nickel, the state does not equalize the second nickel.
And, there is a Second Growth Nickel. It also happens to be the third nickel Corbin schools use.
According to the review, districts that continued to meet the growth criteria were allowed to levy the second growth nickel. Districts like Corbin that levied the original growth nickel (the second nickel) and then levied the second growth nickel (the third nickel) gets equalization money from the state.
Corbin Independent levied the second growth nickel in November 2005. For the 2013-14 School Year, it generated $272,075. Combined with the state equalization of $659,699, the total for the current school year came up to $931,774.
When the amount generated by local taxes from the first three nickels, the Corbin board generated a total of $816,225 for 2013-14. When the amounts equalized by the state from the first and third nickels are added up, that’s a total this school year of $1,319,398 that goes to the district.
Together the combined local taxes and state equalization funding come up to a total of $2,135,623 for 2013-14.
The Corbin Board doesn’t qualify for the fourth, fifth and sixth nickels.
The BRAC, or Base Realignment and Closure, Nickel is the fourth one, and dealt with public school districts near military bases like Fort Knox. It was only available for one year and is now dormant.
The fifth nickel — the Category 5 Nickel — means a school district must have a Category 5 building in order to levy the nickel. It was only available for districts that qualified in 2010, and is not available.
As for the the sixth nickel — the Equalized Facility Funding Nickel — the Kentucky Department of Education said the Corbin district does not qualify, because they have the third nickel — the equalized growth nickel.
But the board would qualify for the seventh nickel, if they so choose.
It’s called the Recallable Nickel.
The financial review mentioned the state General Assembly allows local districts to levy a nickel for building needs that’s subject to recall by public petitions. It added the amount of state equalization funding must be written in the biennial budget.
At this time, the district doesn’t know what amount of state equalization would be received, if any. But if the recallable nickel was equalized by the state, and if Corbin passed the recallable nickel, it would bring an estimated $12 million for a state-approved building project to the school district.
There were several actions taken at the session.
Board members approved the renewal of the district’s property, fleet, general liability, educators legal, workers compensation and all other current insurance policies with Curneal & Hignite Insurance for $239,209.43. The renewal is for the upcoming 2014-15 school year. Approval was also given for permission to apply for a $250,000 Elementary and Secondary School Counselor grant. In addition, the board approved renewing their contract with the state Department of Juvenile Justice contract for $81,000.
A contract with STI Air Source Technology to perform a required asbestos survey on the planned renovation at the Corbin Area Technology Center at a cost of $1,540 was approved, as was the approval of the audit contact with Cloyd &Associates for the 2013-14 school year. Approval was given to accept a $2,000 grant for the Reflex Math program, to name PCG as the third party billing company for the Medicaid direct billing program, and to amend the 2013-14 School Calendar, to reflect changes caused by school closings.
Three school building projects were given the thumbs-up at the meeting. The board approved the BG-5 (Buildings and Grounds) documents for the security doors project at Corbin Middle School, as well as the boiler replacement project at Corbin Intermediate School, and the fan projects at Corbin Intermediate and Corbin Elementary schools.
All three projects are pending approval by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
Corbin Middle also received approval on three actions. One was for Lowe’s to replace the third floor windows on the west side of the main building at a total cost of $7,667.98, installed. Another was to approve Real World of London, Ky. to provide appraisal services on selected property (Corbin Middle), and to grant permission to advertise for architectural services to provide a master school site plan for Corbin Middle, as well as to provide design and development for entrance access to the school.
Board members also approved the contract with the Housing Authority of Corbin to provide an eight-week 21st Century Community Learning Center summer program. The program will be paid from grant funds.
An update on the development of the District Certified Evaluation Plan was given by Assistant Superintendent Ramona Davis. She noted the plan was worked on by what was called the “50-50 Evaluation Committee,” because half of the group were teachers and the other half administrators.
“It’s a complete new plan, with a lot more details. We developed a draft of a plan, and tonight, we’re on step six. To present to you (the board) the plan to look over it. Next month, we hope you’ll approve the plan, send it to KDE for approval, and begin it July 1st,” said Davis.
Corbin Middle’s Principal, Jennifer Parsons, and other teachers at the school, presented a program focusing on the activities featured at the school, including a project called “21st Century Rigor - The Global Classroom.”
Karen West, Coordinator with Support Programs discussed the 21st Century Community Learning Center’s grant award and the 2014 Expanded Summer Programs. New this year are eight individual weeks of summer camps for grades K-6, and grades 7-12.
The Corbin Center’s Coordinator, Susie Hart, gave a partner report on the facility, and asked for the board’s help to let the community know what the center does.
“The biggest thing is we are ‘The Corbin Center’ for Technology and Community Activities. We do have technology, but our main focus is usage. We want the community to use it,” she stated.
Hart mentioned revenue from the Corbin Center from July 2013 to March of this year from use of the facility was $49,270.50 from community use, and an in-kind value of $45,300 from school-related use.
Later in the meeting, the board went into Executive Session, to discuss acquisition or sale of real property, proposed or pending litigation, and/or personnel issues. No action was taken.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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