By CECIL PERGRAM
Powell County High School and Estill County High School are finalizing a partnership between the two schools to send students to a new state operated Career and Technical Education Center that is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2019.
Superintendent of Powell County Schools Michael Tate and Superintendent of Estill County Schools Jeff Saylor presented the proposal to the Powell County Board of Education at last months board meeting.
The high schools in those two counties are finalizing a partnership between the two schools to send students to a new state operated Career and Technical Education Center.
Powell County Superintendent Michael Tate told the Board that Powell County High School will continue to have its CTE Center that’s currently located in the high school.
The building of a new area technology center would be based on an agreement for Powell County to send students to the new state operated center to take the classes that Powell County High School doesn’t offer.
Estill County Superintendent Jeff Saylor told the board that the new regional CTE center would be located just across the Powell County line in Spout Springs and would be about half way between both schools.
Saylor said that his district had three property sites that they we’re looking at and one of those properties had been secured in case the proposal was approved.
He said the land would need to be at-least 10 acres for the construction of the center.
Saylor told the Powell County Board of Education that he needed their help approving their cooperation to a partnership that would allow Powell County students to attend the regional CTE center.
Saylor told the board that once the partnership between the schools was agreed to that his district would go forward with applying for a grant to begin the process of building the new career and technical education center.
The Work Ready Skills Initiative Advisory Committee approved Estill County for a $5.7 million grant on May 17 in Frankfort.
Saylor said Estill County would be allotting $2.5 million and the Estill County Fiscal Court would be allocating $1 million and told the board that he was not asking for any money from Powell County Schools.
Senator Albert Robinson has made a commitment that his number one priority in the Spring legislative session is getting the funding approved to bring the facility to Estill County so that both schools students would be able to access the facility.
Saylor told the board that the Career Technical Center would be completely separate from both schools. The center would have its own principal, its own staff and wouldn’t be paid for by either schools district, it would be a state funded facility.
“The only thing that I’m asking you to do is provide your kids with this opportunity. We don’t want money, supplies or materials. “Saylor said. “If you decide to do that a later date because you have a bunch of kids accessing it, that would be between you and the area technology center.”
Superintendent Michael Tate of Powell County Schools says that a partnership with Estill County in addition to the Career and Technical Center that’s already at Powell County High School offer the best of both worlds.
“We already have programs here were offering for kids but then we’ll be offering kids the opportunity to take auto body, auto mechanics, the science technology engineering and math, welding, electricity.” Tate said. “We got things here were doing good, and there’s other things we just can’t afford because we don’t have the space or can’t afford the cost of putting the equipment in to offer the classes here but we’ll be able to offer them in Estill and our kids will have access to that.”
Some of classes to be offered at the regional CTE center that are not offered at PCHS are Advanced Manufacturing Lab, Transportation including auto mechanics and auto body and information technology courses that will include the advanced area of study in networking and software.
Saylor said that we was just asking the board to allow its students to participate in the program
The board voiced concerns that if Powell County wasn’t contributing funds to the project how they could be viewed as equal. Saylor told the board that the Powell County would have equal opportunity to the center that it would be a state operated facility and not operated by the Estill County School District. Saylor told the board that Estill County, alone, could not send enough students to participate at the center.
“I’m going to be honest their not going to come to Estill County to build a facility for only Estill County students, they forced us to think regionally when it boils down to it its all about our kids.” Saylor said. “If we can get this facility we can provide opportunities for the kids of Powell County. I don’t care if they’re in Powell County, Clark County, Estill County, no matter where their at, they’re all my kids and what happens in their lives is important to all of us.”
Saylor said that Lee County had worked closely in the process of preparing the center for the specific programs that will be offered and that county may send its students to the regional technology center as well.
Saylor said that any school would be welcome to send their students but he hadn’t put an invitation out because he focused on the counties of Powell and Estill first.
Saylor said that the project would be completed in phases and that it would be the Fall of 2019 before any students could attend the center.
The new center would be able to house between 400-450 students but at different times.
The center could potentially offer apprenticeships with local Carhart and Marcum-Wallace Hospital and would allow students the chance to have a part-time job, earn money and possibly receive a job after graduation.
“The auto mechanics class could be connected to Tanner Dodge, manufacturing connected to Carhart over in Estill County, the health science classes could be connected to Marcum-Wallace Hospital.” Tate said. “It allows to do more job shadowing, co-oping and school to work opportunities in the future. I’m sure that we’ll have some other people from Powell and Estill that once we get this going may want a partnership and do something too.”
Diann Meadows, Board Member, stated that based on conversations with the Industrial Board that she has had in the past, that industries considering relocating to Powell County often ask if the school district has access to a vocational center like the one being planned and if manufacturing and technology courses would be offered.
Meadows said that this type of program could potentially attract new industries to the county because they would be offering in those technological courses.