By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
Joe Schenkenfelder was nominated and appointed as the new chairman for the Laurel County Board of Education for the 2013-2014 school year. Tom Smith was also nominated and elected as the new vice chairman.
During the superintendent’s report, Laurel County School Superintendent Doug Bennett spoke to the board about several positive updates and changes to the primary exit criteria.
“These recommended criteria will be used by teachers to determine retention or promotion to the next grade level. These criteria also reflect reporting letter grades rather than S’s, N’s and U’s. This will give parents a better report on a child’s academic progress,” Bennett said.
The new marking system will include an overall grade in each academic area.
“Hopefully these report cards along with teacher conferences will provide parents with a better idea of how their children are doing,” Bennett said.
Board members also heard from architect and construction managers regarding security updates at four elementary schools, as well as the new addition to the North Laurel Middle School.
Kevin Cheek with Sherman Carter & Barnhart Architect Firm updated board members on the progress of security vestibules, which are being installed at four elementary schools in Laurel County. Drywall will be finished soon at the security vestibule at Hazel Green Elementary. Campground Elementary School, Hunter Hills and Sublimity Elementary are also receiving updated security vestibules.
“The receptionists will often be able to see from a secure area, all who come and go. These will be ready for school to start,” Cheek said.
David Jackson with Hacker Brothers Construction also provided a progress report on the new addition that is being finished at North Laurel Middle School.
Jackson reported to board members that the brick work has been completed on the front of the building. Updates to the original building and the new addition include opened alcoves, and the movement of lockers back into the corridors.
“This will help prevent bullying and gives students a more secure environment and make it easier for teachers to see what is going on,” Jackson said.
Construction will continue on the addition and workers will soon be setting plumbing fixtures in restrooms and laying floor in the cafeteria. Multiple updates have been made throughout the original building. School will open on time, but work will likely continue into the fall.
“There is on average 100 people working out at the school each day. We are confident that school will be opened on time. We will have school, but the work will be ongoing. We are very confident it will get done,” Jackson told the school board.
“The magnitude and scope of this project is astronomical and it is compressed into a small window of time. All the people that have worked on this have done a great job and it is great to see the progress continue,” Bennett said.
Other construction includes the roof replacement at Hunter Hills Elementary, which is currently underway.
The board also approved the awarding of bids for School and Community Nutrition Services, pizza vendors, kitchen supplies, dairy products, beverage items, food/meat items, janitorial items and bakery items for the 2013-2014 school year.
All vendors remained the same except for the bakery and fresh bread vendor which is a new category.
Earthgrains Bakery was the only bidder in this category. Little Caesars received the bid for the pizza vendor, while Flav-O-Rich won the bid for dairy products. Pepsi-Cola received the bid for beverages and PFG of Somerset received the bid for food/meat items.
Janitorial items will be provided by Norvex Inc.
Final business was the revision to a policy regarding grading in the school district.
The board approved the revision to the current grading policy. The new grading policy is set in 10-point increments.
“This will make it easier for students to get scholarships and will help families financially. It also simplifies our policy as it will be throughout the district at all grade levels,” Bennett said.