March 28, 2013

School board hires security specialist

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Security remains a top priority for the Laurel County school system.

The Laurel County Board of Education approved a security services contract with Day Safety & Security Consultants LLC of London on Monday during the regular meeting.

Per the contract, retired Kentucky State Trooper Bobby Day will help train school administration and district faculty and ensure that each school has their own strategic safety plans.

Day said many schools in Kentucky do not have a liaison that works side-by-side with law enforcement and first responders, proof that the Laurel County school administration is a group of forward thinkers.

“I know the goal of Dr. Bennett and the school board with this particular program is to have a proactive, ongoing strategy for all emergency situations, making sure there’s always a balance between education and security,” Day said.  

Day said a cookie-cutter emergency plan is not feasible for all schools.  For example, because of its proximity to law enforcement agencies downtown, London Elementary could have emergency responders on-site within two-minutes of a disaster, but Campground Elementary, located approximately nine miles outside the city limits, may have a 25 minute wait.  

Day said district-wide safety is an issue that hits close to home. He currently has children in the Laurel County school district.

“My primary obligation to the school system is to help coordinate the plans, training and prepare for something that could be bad — not just man-made but also natural disasters,” he said.

Day served as a member of the Kentucky State Police for 21 years, and retired as a lieutenant.  Some of his past honors include three Trooper of the Year awards, two Trooper’s Lifesaving Medals, five Commissioner’s Commendations, a medal of bravery, three KSP Outstanding Instructor Awards and one KSP F.I.T. physical fitness award.

In continuing their goal to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly, the school board has gone paperless.

Laurel County is the 66th district in Kentucky to subscribe to a paperless, electronic service with help from Kentucky State Board Association eMeeting trainer Kim Barker.  Board members will use iPads to review their agendas, minutes and any supplemental documents.

“You have a lot of board members now who want to set an example for their students.  Students are using technology, so we need to start using technology,” Barker said.

The cost of the service is $2,500 this year, and $1,000 every year following.  The iPads were purchased by the district.  

The eMeetings are expected to not only save on paper, but save on time.  Instead of packets being printed for each board member twice a month for regular meetings, members of the board will log in and access any and all information they will need for each meeting, with the option to print documents if they wish.

“Going paperless will streamline and improve our effectiveness and communication.  It will eliminate reproducing costs for printing agendas and board minutes,” Superintendent Doug Bennett said.

Other school districts utilizing eMeeting in this area include Whitley, Jackson, McCreary counties, and Middlesboro Independent.

In other business, the board:

•  Contracted for nine district-wide nurses from the Laurel County Health Department for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.

• Approved a reciprocal agreement with Clay County Schools for the 2013-14 school year, with approximately 25 students from Clay County and 25 from Laurel County participating in the agreement.

• Approved the design development and construction documents for security entries at Campground, Hazel Green, Hunter Hills and Sublimity elementary schools.

• Revised financial documents for the Laurel County Career Readiness Center, which will be sent to the Kentucky Department of Education Thursday for discussion.

• Approved an agreement with East Bernstadt Independent Schools to provide a bus and driver for out-of-town athletic events.