TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
During a short meeting session of the Williamsburg Independent Board of Education Tuesday, Superintendent Denny Byrd briefly touched on a public hearing slated for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 29 concerning the school system’s District Facilities Plan.
Board members unanimously approved the plan during their March meeting.
Byrd explained then that every four years, school systems are required to update their facilities plans.
This was the year for Williamsburg Independent.
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, the planning process takes some time.
School systems must select a local planning committee and an architectural/engineering consultant.
Williamsburg Independent opted for RossTarrant Architects of Lexington.
That company reviews the facility and analyzes the building needs, including providing plan drawings, cost estimates and deficiencies.
Then the local planning committee meets, reviews the current plan in place, and holds a series of meetings and forums to develop the new plan.
A minimum of three local planning committee meetings and public forums are required. An orientation session with the KDE counts as one meeting.
Then, after the draft plan receives its review from the KDE, the other two required meetings should take place — one local planning committee meeting and one public forum.
The KDE approved the school’s draft, according to Byrd. Prior to the March meeting, a public forum was held, but no one showed to speak.
The one-page plan synopsis lists capital construction priorities for the school system.
According to the plan, more than $5.7 million in construction priorities for WIS.
This includes several projects, including security upgrades, parking lot and site improvements, playground relocation for student safety, roof replacement, new exterior doors and hardware, new acoustical ceiling tile and grid, new auditorium carpet, new cafeteria flooring, restroom renovations and Americans with Disability Act upgrades, bleacher replacement and upgraded gym equipment, plumbing system and fixture upgrades, an expansion of the fire protection system, an upgrade to the HVAC system and controls, an upgrade to the power distribution, electric, lighting and technology, a closed caption television security camera system, as well as ADA upgrades to the fire alarm system.
Construction projects include an addition to the cafeteria and to the kitchen.
Other construction projects include the addition of a sprinkler system and fire service, as well as a CCTV security system and a fire alarm system.
The plan states the “district need” totals more than $6.86 million.
There are some discretionary projects listed as well, including an auxiliary gym and the replacement of the home side bleachers at the stadium and provide new bleachers for the visitors’ side.
In other school board business:
— A vote to approve the first reading of a revised student handbook was tabled on the recommendation of Byrd. Before this vote was tabled, during the announcement portion of the meeting, Byrd said board members should schedule a workshop to work on the handbook, with particular reference to the pending hand-held device policy likely to be included.
After Byrd made several other announcements, Board member Kim Williams asked if a workshop had been scheduled. Byrd said it had not.
When the decision to table the issue surfaced later in the meeting, Byrd explained a first reading of the new policy will likely be in May, with the second reading during June’s regular meeting. Board member Roger Faulkner motioned to table the vote, with a second from Williams. A show-of-hands vote made the board unanimous in this decision. Board member Alan Steely was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
— Board members unanimously agreed to remain members of the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation. Byrd explained that the school “does not have to pay a fee” to be members, and that the school receives benefits from the membership, including low food price bids for student nutrition.
Faulkner motioned to retain the membership, with a second from Board member Kim White.
— During Tuesday’s meeting, a discussion began concerning the state’s TELL survey.
According to the state’s Department of Education 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 our buildings, in our school districts and at the state level.
Byrd first said the school would not be analyzed, as only 39 percent of the school’s surveys had been complete.
However, several teachers in the audience pointed out the 39 percent was last year’s total.
This year, 69 percent of the surveys were complete.
No decisions were required on this subject.
— A representative of the school’s WEA spoke during Tuesday’s meeting. Teacher Bill Conn first thanked the school for improved cleanliness. During March’s meeting, comments were made concerning problems with the cleanliness of the school.
He also shared a new procedure when bringing issues before the school administration. Conn explained that the issue at hand would be taken in writing to the superintendent, who would then have 10 days to review the issue and provide a written response.
— The 2013-2014 school calendar was unanimously approved by board members. Williams motioned for the approval, with a second from White.
– Toward the end of the meeting, Williams asked about the safety plan. “I (want us) to be diligent,” Williams said. “I don’t want that to be forgotten.”
Byrd said that a packet is being put together so “teachers, student teachers (and others) will know exactly what they need to do in any given area.” He also added the increased police presence has been appreciated by staff.
She also requested to see the results of student testing, which are not yet available. “I would like to see the results next month,” Williams said. “We’d like to see the results to see if there’s anything we need to do.”
— Prior to the meeting, board members recognized several student groups in the school, including the fourth and fifth grade academic team, the middle school academic teams, the high school academic team, and members of the school’s choir. Also recognized was student Josh Young, who won the state competition for an essay he wrote. The essay contest is sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Young’s win now has him competing in the mid-regional competition.