By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
Representatives from Grace Community Health Center were at Tuesday’s Knox County Board of Education meeting to discuss opening clinics in the county’s schools.
Grace Community Health Center CEO Michael Stanley stated there was a need in Knox County schools for school-based health care due to budget cuts in county health departments. The organization is a non-profit that serves Knox, Clay, and Leslie counties as a primary health care service. They have five school-based clinics in Clay County.
Stanley said that the Grace Community Health Center board had already approved a New Access Point Grant application to fund the health care in Knox County schools, and the grant covered a two-year project period. This project would employ a nurse practitioner plus six nurses to rotate among 10 schools in Knox County.
Nurses would treat children at a primary care center in the school. Stanley said that Grace Community Health Center had already drawn up a budget for the program. The grant and revenue from services would cover all costs for two years, and the Knox County school system itself would incur no costs.
Board member Dexter Smith expressed concern about parents being billed for their children’s services without knowledge that their child had been treated.
“That’s a thing I’m really concerned about,” Smith said. Stanley replied that the high volume of Medicaid recipients in Knox County due to expansions included in the Affordable Care Act in conjunction with students whose parents have private insurance should fully cover services, with no out-of-pocket cost to the parents.
“There will be bills some families can’t afford,” Smith insisted, and Stanley assured him that parents receiving bills would be a rare occurrence.
Board chairman Merrill Smith moved to table the presentation and expressed discomfort with some of the proposal’s wording. The board unanimously voted to table the matter.
Stanley stated that they had 120 days from the date the grant was awarded to be in operation.
–Tim Melton presented the quarterly report for Knox County High School. This report assessed attendance, graduation, and dropout rates. The attendance goal was 94 percent and actual attendance fell just a few percentage points shy of this. The graduation goal is 100 percent but the graduation rate stands at 88 percent. Melton said that one student dropped out, but they were continuing outreach to this student.
–Shelton presented an update on applicants for the Governor’s Scholar program, which is a program for high school juniors that allows them to participate in college courses. Knox County has 17 applicants, who will be screened for final selection in January.
–Lynn Camp’s robotics program received a NASA grant for this year, and now has the funding to advance to regionals in robotics competitions, according to teacher Arthur Canada. If they advance beyond this, they will need to raise additional funding. Canada also demonstrated a couple of robots students built and programmed, and explained that local engineering programs sought robotics students for internships. The kickoff for next year’s robotics program is Jan. 3, according to Canada.
–The board passed revisions to health insurance policies to fall in line with the Affordable Care Act. These revisions allow substitute teachers who work more than 28 service hours per week to request health insurance.
–According to Jack Cloyd with Cloyd and Associates, the Knox County school system received a clean audit for the year.
–A new hiring policy was introduced in the meeting. According to Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles, an amendment to the school’s hiring policy was needed to accommodate the online app Talent Head, which introduced new methods of hiring and candidate assessment to the Knox County school systems. The amendment was passed.
–A special needs waiver that shortened the school day for certain special needs students passed. Shelton said that this is due to health issues that may demand a shortened school day.
–A motion passed to amend the board’s travel expenses policy that reduces the per diem amount if meals are offered by the conference.
–A motion to bring the salary schedule of Odyssey of the Mind coaches to be more in line with other service coaches was passed.
–Several awards were presented at the meeting. Eddie Arnold with Air Evac presented Flat Lick Elementary School fifth grader Matthew Gray with the High Flyer Student Award. This is the first time the monthly award has been presented, and Gray received the award for great improvements in his academic performance and attitude.
College For Every Student (CFES) gave Knox County Middle School and Lynn Camp Middle/High School two School of Distinction awards. According to Shelton, a School of Distinction excels in mentoring, service through learning, and college pathways. The two schools have banners declaring their status hanging in the buildings.
Energy manager Chris Taylor and Kim Merida presented school energy savings reward checks to the school energy teams. The goal of the energy teams was to save 10 percent, or $90,000, on the school district’s energy bills. They fell short of this goal with only $75,000 saved, but the 2014 projection for savings is around $200,000. Checks were presented to Dewitt Elementary School ($500) and Knox County Middle School ($500) for the second semester of the year and a check for the entire year was presented to Lynn Camp for $1,000.
Monthly attendance awards were presented to Lay Elementary School and Lynn Camp.
The Kentucky River Region Agriculture Teacher of the Year went to Knox County High School teacher Cloyce Hinkle.
–Issues with Dewitt Elementary renovations and a roof replacement for Flat Lick Elementary were tabled once again under the suggestion of Merida. Both projects share a contractor, and there are still questions remaining with the payment of the contractor. Damage occurred during renovations, which is part of the attempts to straighten things out with the contractor.