City BOE discusses renovations and funding cuts
by Amelia Holliday
Students in the Hazard Independent School system may have left for summer break from an unfinished building, but should expect to return to newly renovated facilities, as the Hazard Middle and Roy G. Eversole Elementary schools are nearing completion this month.
Joseph Clark, an architect with the firm Clotfelter-Samokar, presented the Hazard Independent School Board at their monthly meeting last week with photos of some of the completed renovations and an update on the schools as the anticipated completion date nears.
“All three wheelchair lifts at Roy G. are installed, operational, and we have certificates of inspection from the elevator inspector,” Clark said. “The contractor is completing the last group of classroom renovations that includes the two computer labs, those will be up and operational by the end of next week.”
Clark said almost all the suites and classrooms are finished or near completion at the elementary school, and the outside canopy has been taken down to begin the exterior renovation.
Hazard Middle School will also be finished soon, Clark said. All of the toilet facilities and functional, and only a few rooms still need finishing touches, like a final coat of paint.
“Renovation of the science classroom is complete, the teacher is actually moved in. Renovation of the administrative suite is underway, new stud walls are being erected actually right now for the new principal and guidance office,” he said.
The board approved two pay applications to McKnight and Associates for the Roy G. Eversole Elementary and for the Hazard Middle School renovations.
Hazard High School is also in line to be finished with renovations, which started on half of the school earlier in the school year. James Sparks, with Harshaw Trane, a building technology and energy services provider, was present at the meeting for a question-and-answer session with the members of the board.
“Monday, we’ll mobilize and we’ll start demolition of the school and we’ll start by tearing the ceilings out. After the ceilings we’ll be tearing out duct work and taking old units off the wall, taking them off the roof,” Sparks said. “Right now we’re scheduled to pretty much be out of the way by Aug. 1, but I’m going to try to improve on that a little bit.”
In other business, the board approved a bid for property, fleet, and liability insurance from the Wright Insurance Group, and a bid for workers compensation insurance from Kentucky Employer’s Mutual Insurance (KEMI).
The board was also presented with program reviews for each of the schools in the district. The reviews summarize the curriculum in a certain field of study at the school, such as arts and humanities or writing, and show the assessment of the program and any developments.
“I would put our arts and humanities program at Hazard Independent up against anywhere in the state,” Superintendent Sandra Johnson said after going over the reviews with the board.
The board also approved an agreement with TV Service, Inc. (TVS) cable company to let the company overlash cable with their existing fiber optic cable in order to provide fiber through the city. Johnson said the reason the company needs to use their existing lines for the cable is because the power poles do not have room for another cable. She said the overlashing would have no effect on the district’s cable, and in return for allowing the company to overlash the district will receive free maintenance for five years for their cable from TVS. TVS will also pay $10,000 to the district as advertising sponsorship of the Hazard City website.
Regina Cornett, the district’s financial officer, presented the tentative budget for the 2013-2014 school year.
“Most of the budget just rolled forward from the budget we already had,” Cornett explained. “We don’t have a lot of numbers to know what the state department’s going to give us as far as grants go, as far as ending numbers.”
Some numbers from the state, though, have been estimated, and it seems like the district, like most other districts in the state, will see a sharp drop in the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding.
“The SEEK figures they gave us, the last adjustment shows us with a decrease of $118,176 estimated for next year, which that’ll change based on the numbers at the end of the (school) year,” she said.
Cornett also said she anticipates a 12.5 percent decrease in Title 1 funding, which is where most of the funding for the district’s special education program comes from.
“It could be more, but I did budget to reduce salaries and we took one teacher out of the allocation and moved her back into the general fund because of a possible reduction we know we’re going to face in the federal programs,” Cornett said.
Cornett said the food services for the district will likely end the year with no funds leftover due to nonpayment from students for charge accounts for breakfast and lunch items. The district has been trying to solve this issue since January.
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