June 04--STEARNS -- It took a special-called meeting, but the McCreary County Board of Education approved a $23 million tentative budget last Wednesday night ahead of the May 30 deadline.
The board had tied during the regular meeting May 22 with vice-chair Roxanne Shook and Larry Davis voting for approval and Debbie Gibson voting with Brandon Kidd against. Chairperson Nelda Gilreath couldn't attend due to a family matter.
Gilreath's return broke the tie in favor of approval but Gibson and Kidd's concerns hadn't changed in the days since the first vote.
When the matter was opened for discussion, Gibson read a statement noting that the state encourages board involvement and even requires budget training. Though glad the budget is balanced, Gibson made her no vote clear.
"I was not allowed to look at it or work on it," she said. "Therefore I can't vote for it."
Kidd continued to express concern about State Auditor Adam Edelen's examinations into school districts across the state. He again questioned a $53,000 part-time instructional supervisor position.
Having maintained for the last two years that the position is unnecessary, on Wednesday, Kidd questioned when the contract was changed from a 100-day position to a 167-day position. Gilreath agreed that she thought it was originally voted as a 100-day contract.
Superintendent Arthur D. Wright maintained that the position was always meant for 167 days, the maximum the state allows for a retired certified employee, but agreed for staff to look through past board minutes to determine how the matter was presented.
On Friday, Supt. Wright issued the following statement: "According to the Kentucky Teachers Retirement Center a retired certified employee can work 69% of the contract days of a full time employee is required to work. The number of days was not specified on the recommendation to the board in June of 2011 because I had not hired the employee. Once the employee was hired in the board created position, the employee could work up to 167 days at 69% of the contract days due to KTRS requirements."
Kidd has long maintained that abolishing the position could help fund other positions. In addition to staffing concerns, the board also heard about the lack of funding for certain school sports.
McCreary Central High School Girls Basketball/Softball Coach Toby Curry presented board members with a breakdown of coaching stipends throughout the 12th Region as well as how gate receipts can be pooled to ensure a more equitable division of funds.
Chairperson Gilreath noted that the board used to pay for travel outright but got "blasted" for it.
Accounting Manager Kristi Sizemore help explained that new accounting requirements did restrict how schools could spend certain funds but explained that a District Activity Account could alleviate some of the red tape.
Davis, however, questioned how the board could ensure there were enough funds to be distributed fairly. Kidd also asked if booster clubs could help.
Supt. Wright recommended that the principals and coaches meet collectively to agree on a recommendation to be presented to the board. The board is expected to consider the issue during their next meeting or in July.
In other business, the board approved insurance proposals for the 2014-15 school year as presented by agent Buddy Wilson. WRM will provide property/liability with an added $1,794 option for data compromise protection while KEMI will provide Worker's Compensation. The motion passed 4-1 with Gilreath voting nay.
The next meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education has been scheduled for June 19 at 6 p.m.
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