By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
With the new school year coming next month, Corbin Independent Schools said Tuesday that two positions for their school nursing services have been filled, with a third position expected to be hired before students begin classes on Aug. 5.
During a special meeting of the board at the district’s Central Office, Superintendent Ed McNeel told board members, “We have two nurses employed, one of which is getting their paperwork in, and we’re posting for one more nurse position. We’ve worked on the budget, we’re comfortable with hiring three positions, and we hope to have the third nurse hired before school starts.”
He added that of the three nurse positions, one will be assigned full-time to Corbin Primary School. Of the two remaining positions, one nurse will work at Corbin Intermediate and High Schools, while the other will be assigned to Corbin Middle and Elementary Schools.
The new school year will be the first that the district has employed their own nurses.
In years past, Corbin Independent worked with the Whitley County Health Department, with the department providing nurses to work in the schools. But the health department didn’t receive federal reimbursements for months from Medicaid for the school nursing services, and had no financial resources to continue the service after the previous school year ended last May.
“We’re moving along in the right path,” commented Board Chair Kim Croley.
“It’s like we’re starting all over again,” said Mark Daniels, the district’s Director of Pupil Personnel and Grants.
The board took action on unanimously approving the alternative calendar for the 2013-14 school year. McNeel said it’s the same calendar the district has now, with 170 instructional days, but doesn’t have five days built in. The new alternative calendar would meet the hours required by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), and would be submitted to the KDE for their approval.
“If we don’t miss a day, we’ll get out May 8th of 2014,” McNeel noted.
Second readings on board policies and administrative procedures were also approved, and now become effective this new school year. Also approved were both the Employee Handbook and the district’s Code of Acceptable Behavior for the 2013-14 school year, except for the sections on the schools’ tobacco policy. The board said that section will be revised and given a second reading at a later meeting.
Board members also approved increasing all full-price student and adult lunch meals by 10 cents for the next three years, starting with the new school year. It was added the action was taken to meet the federal government’s mandate that meal costs be close to the rate given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program for school lunches.
Also at the session, the current substitute teacher salary schedules were abolished, and new substitute teacher salary schedules were adopted. The schedule became effective on July 1, and lists the rate for teachers with 64 college hours as $65 per day, while teachers with bachelor’s degrees get $75 per day, and those teachers certified get $85 per day.
Two contracts for services during the new school year were also approved, with the Corbin district serving as the fiscal agent.
One is between the school district and the Corbin Public Housing Authority for 21st Century Community Learning Center services as part of the 21st Century grant. It was noted the agreement has been done for several years.
The other is also for 21st Century Community Learning Center services as part of the 21st Century grant, but with the Knox County Schools. It’s the fourth straight year the two districts have signed the services contract.
A summary of the district’s ACT scores for 2012-13 was given by McNeel. While Administrative Assistant Dave Cox wasn’t there to give the summary, the superintendent said the report showed how the ACT scores are changing in Kentucky, and how Corbin did compared to others in the state.
The scores, taken from test results from 11th-grade students last year, showed Corbin Independent was up in the composite score. The district showed a 20.3 in 2012-13, compared to 20.1 in 2011-12.
“Overall, we’re in the right direction, and our goal is still at 21.0. I think parents and students are aware of how important it is, and how it has an impact on getting scholarships,” McNeel pointed out.
Earlier in the meeting, Gifted Program Coordinator Karen West gave highlights of the district’s afterschool programs last school year. She said 1,008 students attended those programs last year, with 268 students being served in the programs on an average day.
“Of that total, 94 percent of these students improved their classroom math grade, or maintained an ‘A’ during the school year. And, 92 percent of these students improved their classroom reading and language arts grade, or maintained an ‘A’ during the school year. …The 1,008 students attending the program was the highest of any school district in Kentucky,” West said.
She also gave overviews of the districts’ summer program and mentioned program expansions in the Gifted and Talented Programs last school year. A total of 499 students were served by the programs in the 2012-13 school year.