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School board announces calendar changes, budget cuts
In Jan. 27 Issue
By John Thompson
Times Journal Reporter

The Russell County Board of Education met informally an hour early on Monday as the school board staff put together an appreciation dinner for the board members to recognize School Board Recognition Month.

The dinner began at 6 p.m. and the regularly scheduled monthly meeting began at its appointed time of 7 p.m.

The board took up the issue of a 2010-2011 Calendar Amendment to address the growing number of missed days due to snow. As of Monday students have missed a total of 13 days due to snow. A measure was voted upon to add four days to the school year by having school in session on two days previously designated as Professional Development days, February 22, and March 21, as well as attending two scheduled holidays; President's Day, February 21, and Good Friday, April 22.

Along with these measures the calendar year was amended to have 170 instructional days rather than the 174 originally scheduled. The 170 day schedule will meet the minimum requirements set by the Kentucky Department of Education with over 1,062 hours of instruction.

As of Monday, January 24, the school year is scheduled to end on May 27. This date is subject to change depending on if more school days are missed during the year.

Director of Business Operations Marla Carnes read the monthly treasurer's report for the month of December 2010: Balance on Hand at the Beginning of the Month $ 671,139.91; Total of All Receipts for the Month $ 4,212,896.09; Total of All Receipts and Beginning Balance $ 4,884,036.00; Disbursements $ 2,042,636.69; Balance at the Close of the Month (Cash in Bank) $ 2,841,399.31;

Fund Balances: General Fund- Fund I $ 2,079,507.34; Special Projects - Fund II $ 51,379.66; Capital Outlay -Fund 310 $ 6,347.49; FSPK/Building - Fund 320 $ 551,480.37; Construction - Fund 360 $ 0.00; Food Service - Fund 51 $ 238,804.00; FRC Child Care - Fund 52 $ 16,644.77; Total Cash in Bank of All Funds $ 2,841,404.31. An imbalance of $5.00 was due to a check being charged at $5.00 over amount stated on check. This has been corrected in the month of January.

Superintendent Kenny Pickett announced that the school budget was cut by $248,000 this year, approximately $221,000 from general fund. For extended coverage of the causes of the budget shortfall, as well as how it will affect the Russell County School System, pick up the weekend edition of The Russell County News-Register.

The board approved school activity fund reports.

The board approved a shortened school day for a student based upon the students needs. Due to privacy laws the student is not identified. The school board's recommendation for approval will now be submitted to the Kentucky Dept. of Education for approval.

The Local Wellness Policy, as submitted by the Local Education Authority (LEA), establishing a plan measuring the implementation of the program was approved by the board.

Two employees requested extended leaves of absence; Katha Kimbler requested an extended medical leave of absence, without pay, effective February 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011; and Leslie Roy requested an extension of her leave of absence, without pay or benefits, effective January 4, 2011, through March 1, 2011. Both were granted.

The following overnight and out of state trips were approved by the board, with no expense to the board: RCHS Cheerleaders to visit the UCA National Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Fla. Feb 9 - 14, 2011; Lake Cumberland ATC to visit KY State HOSA Conference in Louisville March 23-26, 2011; RCHS Baseball to Florida baseball tournament April 4-9, 2011; RCHS World Language Club to visit Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN. April 23, 2011; RCHS Baseball to visit LIT Tournament in Louisville April 29-30, 2011.

The board approved an update to the Russell County Schools Professional Growth and Evaluation of Certified Personnel and Classified Employee Manual and Evaluations, as required by KRS 156.557(3). The revised manuals will now be submitted to the Department of Education for approval. According to District Assessment Coordinator Rita Voils the only changes for this year are updating of the Appeal Committee members.

Informational items not requiring board approval: Superintendent Pickett gave the RCMS Navigators and Challengers approval to an in-state trip to the Key Twin Cinema and Laker Lanes, and approved the RCHS and RCMS Spring Softball Season.

In personnel matters, new hires are as follows; Jamie Brumley - RCHS Asst. Softball Coach; Stephanie McGowan - RCHS Head Softball Coach and Admin. Asst.; Keith Ellis - RCHS Head Track Coach; Erin Whittle - Substitute Aid; Sheila Wicker, Trent Hadley, Jerica Aaron and Kendra Sanders - Substitute Teachers.

To continue the school board appreciation theme that began with a dinner prior to the meeting, Superintendent said "I want to thank each one of these member up here who give their time and energy and devotion to the community and our students," before introducing Director of Pupil Personnel Johnna Dalton and District Technology Coordinator Chris Bell gave a presentation of student responses when asked "What is a school board member?"

The question was asked of students of second and third grade. Written compilations were presented to all the board members and everyone enjoyed a video presentation of oral answers.

After the meeting it was noted that security personnel had been present at the school board meeting. According to Superintendent Pickett, for the foreseeable future there will be armed security personnel at the school board meetings. This is not for specific threats but due to the raised tensions nationwide. Specifically noted was the shooting at the school board meeting in Florida in December, at which a gunman opened fire and was fatally wounded by a guard.

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