By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Problem solved — now that a nurse has been hired to be on-staff at Williamsburg Independent Schools.
School Superintendent Denny Byrd told present members of the Board of Education during its regular meeting Tuesday a nurse, Rhonda Foley, had been hired for the students’ needs.
Concerns about the lack of a school nurse came before the board in June, and Byrd said then they were meeting with various health agencies to address the issue.
But by July, there was no choice left.
He explained to present board members that he “had a meeting with the health department,” but that did not come through. Byrd added he also spoke with two different health care providers, but that too, fell through.
WIS Chief Financial Officer David Higginbotham said Tuesday that health care for the schools “was always contracted through the health department.”
“This is the first time we’ve hired (a health care provider),” he said.
“We’re very fortunate,” Byrd added.
The only action required by board members on this matter concerned Foley’s “salary schedule.”
Board member Kim Williams motioned to approve the schedule, with a second from Board member Allan Steely. A show-of-hands vote made the decision unanimous.
In other board action:
— There are some grant and Coal Severance monies headed for the district’s coffers.
Byrd explained the Board needed to approve him as the agent to receive the funds.
“This just gives me the authority to sign that in order for the Board to collect the money,” he said. “This is just a formality to receive the funds.”
Byrd added that approving him as the agent required a resolution.
Board member Kim White motioned to make Byrd the receiving agent, with a second from Steely. The board was unanimous with this decision.
— Another agenda item requiring board action concerned the property on 10th Street.
Byrd told board members Tuesday that a “concrete offer” of $44,000 has been made on that property.
What Byrd sought was approval from board members to either accept the $44,000 or to attempt “to get a little more money out of it.”
“It’s not exactly what we wanted,” he said. “(But) we’re getting into fall and winter (which is) not a good time to sell.”
Williams asked if negotiating would “jeopardize the sale,” but Byrd said the lowest the school would get would be the $44,000. There is a house on the property that needs work, Byrd added.
Steely motioned to allow Byrd to negotiate the sale, with a second from Williams. The board was unanimous with this decision.
— Approval was given by board members to allow Byrd to apply for 10 emergency substitute teacher applications.
He explained that the school only hires certified teachers, however, there can be “a crisis sometimes.”
“This is for our protection to make sure we have substitutes,” Byrd added.
Williams motioned to approve the application, with a second from White.
— The 2014 motor vehicle and watercraft property tax rate was unanimously approved by board members.
The rate is unchanged from last year, according to Byrd.
Higginbotham added that rate is 54 cents per $100. Williams motioned to approve the rate, with a second from White.
In board news:
— Bill Conn, teacher and Williamsburg Education Association (WEA) representative, came before the board to discuss the upcoming in-house survey for school teachers.
In June, board members discussed the results of the Kentucky Department of Education’s TELL Survey.
According to the KDE website, the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Working Conditions Survey, known as TELL Kentucky, captures the perceptions of all school-based certified educators about teaching and learning working conditions through an anonymous process.
By documenting and analyzing how educators view critical teaching and learning conditions, this initiative focuses on providing each Kentucky school with its own data that can become a part of the ongoing improvement planning processes in the buildings, in the school districts and at the state level.
Board members learned then the response from the district’s teachers were not good — only 69.8 percent responded.
Plans were made then to set up a committee for preparing and conducting the in-house survey.
Conn was on-hand Tuesday to update board members on progress.
The committee has been set, according to Conn, and includes high school special education teacher Vaughn Hatcher, middle school reading teacher Gina Lawson, and first-grade teacher Donna Walden.
Williams asked whether the WEA would be ready for a report to the board in October.
“Yes, right now,” Conn said.
No board action was required.
— Byrd explained the Average Daily Membership has improved in the last several years.
Board members were provided a sheet which charted the ADM on the second day of school for the past six school years.
And in recent years, those numbers have steadily climbed.
In the 2008-2009 school years, the ADM was approximately 790.
It remained relatively steady during the next two school years, and then in the 2011-2012 school year, the ADM climbed four percent to 820.
The following school year saw a two percent increase.
Byrd said Tuesday that as of Monday, the ADM was 881.
“We did get up to 885,” he said. “We have a lot of students here.”
He added that both the pre-school and kindergarten classes were completely full.
No board action was required.
— Byrd told board members that program reviews will be done this year.
He said that Teresa Carroll, with the Kentucky Department of Education, will guide the school system through the process.
“The board has no say-so with this,” Byrd said, adding the review is 23 percent of the school system’s accountability.
Williams asked if the board members could meet with Carroll to get better acquainted with the review process. Byrd said that was possible.
Carroll is slated to meet Byrd on Sept. 18. Board members agreed to then meet with her during a meeting Oct .15.
No official action was required.
— A uniform safety procedures guide continues to grow, according to Byrd.
He explained Tuesday that safety procedures for the school system “is an ongoing thing.”
He said all school personnel will have access to this document — staff members, student teachers, teachers and substitutes.
Williams wanted to ensure substitute teachers were familiarizing themselves with the school’s safety procedures. She felt those substitutes should sign something that kept a record of who reviewed the procedures. White agreed, saying she’s experienced that before.
— Some long-awaited playground equipment will very soon be installed — possibly even today depending on the rainy weather, according to Byrd.
He told board members that those crew members installing the equipment were “supposed to call tonight if they were not going to come.”
He had not heard from them by Tuesday’s meeting, he said. Byrd added the contractors for the project were coming from Knoxville, Tenn.
— Byrd said the school has “had two good practices” concerning fire drills.
He told board members there have been two fire drills since school started last week — one planned and one surprise.
But the surprise wasn’t fire. Byrd said curiosity got the better of one younger student, “who wanted to see how that alarm worked.”