By TOSHA BAKER
A presentation was given at the Powell County School Board meeting that explored the idea of moving Powell County Academy to the Powell County High School.
If moved, the academy would be located where the health science is currently located, isolated from other students. It would be about the same amount of space they have now.
The presentation was given by Superintendent Michael Tate, Powell County High School Principal Kendall Kearns and Director of the Powell County Academy Kenny Rice. They listed some of the pros and cons of leaving the academy where it is or moving it.
Rice said one of his major concerns is supervision. He said so many things can go wrong at the academy, but those things are taken care of there.
Things such as weapons or drugs being brought into the school are addressed quickly and not many people know about it. If those types of things happened at the high school there would be a lot more to the situation, due to the fact of it being around so many other students.
Another issue could be court orders for certain students to be separated from others.
Though they may be separated, they would be under the same roof.
“In those situations, when there with me, we don’t have to worry about kids sneaking off or sneaking around or doing anything,” Rice said.
Kearns said he also had concerns of the students having interactions they weren’t supposed to have. It would be harder to guarantee 100 percent the academy students would be segregated, Kearns said.
For some the one-on-one time, smaller class size and refocusing can be beneficial to students and allow them to transition back into the high school and be beneficial, but for others that may not be the case.
If the academy were to be moved to the high school the students from there would be escorted and supervised from the time they get there until the time they leave, Kearns said.
If the academy was moved into the high school, money could possibly be saved in areas such as transportation, staff and heating and cooling of the three extra trailers.
“We’re looking at options,” Tate said. “Would it be feasible to move the alt. ed. to the high school? Again we are not saying that that’s going to happen, we’re just presenting some options.”
This is the first of many discussions that will be had about the possible move.
The 2016-2017 staffing allocations were approved by the board. Tate said the numbers could change during a two month adjustment if enrollment numbers go up once the school year starts.
Bowen Elementary will be going from 10 teachers to 9. They will be losing one teacher and one aide due to a drop in enrollment numbers.
Clay City Elementary will be losing one teacher and one aide due to low enrollment numbers.
Stanton Elementary will stay the same with 15 teachers, but they will be losing a kindergarten aid.
The middle school has increased in enrollment numbers so they are maintaining 24 teachers.
The high school enrollment numbers will be going up but due to overstaffing in the past one teaching position will be cut.
“They will still be overstaffed by about four teachers next year,” Tate said.
If the funding is there, the teaching position that was cut at the high school could be put back in, he said.
“What we’re looking at is, to be honest, our kindergarten numbers are coming in low,” Tate said. “We hope that that’s not the case, we hope in the fall there up and we can put the staff back in but right now we just have to go by the numbers.”
Principal Education Facility Planner Kevin Cheek with Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects gave an update on the current status of the Engineer bids received for the Powell County Middle School Renovation project.
When the project was originally started a budget was made and an initial financial application, or BG-1 was filled out. This was done in the Fall of 2015, and the value of the BG-1 was $2 Million 361,000.
As time progressed a cost opinion or BG-3 was filled out and valued at $2 Million 620,400 for construction costs.
What was failed to be taken into consideration was the impact that some of the construction markets are having across the state such as a shortage of mechanical and electrical contractors willing to do the work. This information was found after bids were already received.
The board received 5 bids to do the project. Out of the five Branscum Construction was the lowest bid at $3,222,000.
The original estimate was based on the average cost of $37 a square foot. It ended up actually coming in at $45 a square foot.
Joe Nance of Ross, Sinclair & Associates presented the board with their options thus far.
“Even though the project came in half a million dollars more than we hoped, the question is can we afford it,” Nance said.
The answer to that question ended up being yes due to the fact that the board can afford to borrow a bond of $3 Million 720,000 and an additional state bond of $750,000 that will be available July 1. Giving the board a grand total of $4 Million 470,000 in bonds.
Nance said the board is looking at a $4 Million 120,000 total budget. There will be about a $350,000 in reserve for future projects, he said.
“If you want to proceed from a funding standpoint we can take advantage of it,” Nance said to the board about the $750,000.
Cheek gave the board members some options as to what they could do next. Some of the options were to put the project off until next summer and contract negotiate or award one of the bidders at the next board meeting.
This was just a discussion, so no action was taken at the board meeting Monday.
The board approved a new Bass Fishing Club for Powell County High School and Powell County Middle School.
“We have some kids who are very passionate about this,” said Julie Clark, school sponsor of the club.
The club will have their first meeting on May 2. The team will learn new skills along with boat safety through receiving a boat license.
“Bass fishing is not just casting out and reeling in,” Clark said. “There’s more to it.”
Presentations were also given by Debbi Rose about the Special Ed Program and Lynne Stidham with Virginia Carpenter about the Gifted and Talented Program.
At the beginning of the meeting at student was awarded a certificate of recognition for his achievements.
Though he was accepted into both Western and Morehead, Graham Fizer will be attending the Craft academy at Morehead in August. He will be receiving high school and college credit during his time there.
“The skies the limit for Graham,” Carpenter said. “He’s special.”
At the end of the meeting the board decided to cancel the regular board meeting on May 23, and in its place hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. on May 16 at the Central Office to review and approve the tentative budget. The budget must be submitted by the board no later than May 30.