, Corbin, KY

October 21, 2013

Whitley board updated on new elementary school

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Pending a plan review by the Kentucky Department of Education — the construction of the new Pleasant View Elementary School will soon get advertised for bids.

During the rescheduled regular meeting of the Whitley County Board of Education Thursday, RossTarrant Architects representatives, principal Leonard Bowers and project manager Eric Steva, were on hand to update board members about the progress of the school.

They also needed board approval for certain items.

Board members unanimously approved spending $1,900 for survey fees.

Superintendent Scott Paul explained that the survey work was needed to install a leach-bed system of waste water removal, rather than have a wastewater treatment plant built for the school. “We wanted to avoid (having) the wastewater treatment plant,” Paul said.

Board chair Larry Lambdin motioned to approve the expense, with a second from Board vice-chair J.E. Jones. The board was unanimous with this decision.

In other Pleasant View business, the construction documents were unanimously approved by board members — pending KDE review and approval.

“We are ready to submit (the plans) for approval to the KDE,” Bowers told board members. He added the plans will likely be to KDE by the first part of November, but he wanted to get the board approval first to get the process moving faster.

Bowers said that Nov. 15 was the “target date” to get the plans to the printer and get the advertising “on the street.”

“We’re shooting for a Dec. 10 bid date,” Bowers said.

Paul added that some of the interesting features include a carded entry system and lockers for the fifth and sixth grades. “It’s coming together nicely,” Paul said.

Lambdin motioned to approve the construction plans, with a second from Board member Malorie Cooper.

Also involved with the Pleasant View construction project was board approval for a revised BG-3 document.

Bowers said the revision includes the estimate and what had yet to be anticipated — Branscome Construction needed to include its estimated costs.

Lambdin motioned to approve the BG-3 revision, with a second from Board member Brenda Hill. Board members were unanimous with their decision.

The final board action for Pleasant View Elementary School involved a waiver for the location of the school’s art room.

Board members learned legal construction practice was to locate an art room with window exposure to the north.

Pleasant View’s future art room’s windows open to the northeast, according to Bowers, who added that the current planned location of the room would make it more accessible to all grades in the school.

Board members unanimously approved requesting the waiver.

In other board business:

— It’s time to put Kentucky’s students first — that’s the challenge the Board of Education gave to the state’s House and Senate groups in a resolution approved and signed by all board members Thursday.

During the meeting, Paul explained that the state’s Senate Bill 1, better known as Unbridled Learning, has forced school systems to implement new teaching methods and tools to comply with the standards set by the state’s General Assembly in 2009.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education’s website, “Unbridled Learning is the name given to the new era in public education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky — designed to ensure every child reaches his/her learning potential and graduates from high school ready for college and career.

“The legislation addresses many areas,” the website states. “What students should learn, what will be tested, how subjects will be tested, when tests are given, what should comprise the public school accountability system and more.

However, with school systems already under the weight of tight budgets, monies to fund these new mandates are few and far between.

Paul said through research he found other school boards approving the same action — sending a resolution requesting the funding to implement the mandates.

“The Kentucky Legislature has broken their pledge to Kentucky’s students, failing to fund the mandates of Unbridled Learning, thereby putting at risk its goals and jeopardizing the future of our students,” state’s the board’s resolution. “The failure of the legislature has caused the Whitley County School District and districts across the Commonwealth to make significant cuts to their budgets and to personnel, compelling school boards to increase property taxes in order that districts might continue to operate and serve the students.”

The resolution further requests the state fully fund the new Unbridled Learning mandates.

“We want to try to get this set up prior to (when) the legislature (meets),” Paul said. “We’ve got to have some help from the legislature.”

Board member Delmar Mahan motioned to approve the resolution, with a second from Cooper. The board was unanimous with this decision.

— Above & Beyond awards, given by the Board of Education monthly, were awarded to Alan Sweet, Tania Sharpe and Rachelle Rice. Deputy Superintendent Paula Trickett told board members that this month the award needed to recognize the entire staff of the high school, which she commended for raising the school’s standing from a 34 percentile to a 90 percentile.

Trickett explained that the district’s schools received their “assessment and accountability reports” concerning education and improvements within each school.

She said the district overall improved from a 54 percentile to an 86 percentile.

Some schools within the district are in need of improvements, but overall Trickett summarized that many changes implemented are working and that more work in needed.

No board decision was required on this issue.