By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Providing technical and vocational training for local high school students took two huge steps toward reality as the Laurel County School Board approved actions to start the project.
Located on East Fourth Street, adjacent to the Laurel County Fire Department and across from the South Laurel Little League fields, the site is currently being prepared for excavation work.
Superintendent Dr. Doug Bennett said excavation work in slated to begin "next month," which is only days away, although he did not give an exact date.
During Monday's regular board meeting, school board members approved action to award bids for the site excavation for the driveway and asphalt for the parking lots of the new Laurel County Career Readiness Center, pending upon approval by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Another step involving the new training center was moving $1 million from the Unreserved Fund Balance to a Restricted Fund Balance for the start-up costs of the new facility. Board member Tommy Smith said the funds set aside was "a one time thing," which Bennett clarified.
"This is a restrictive fund for the first one or two years of operation," Bennett explained. "This will help prepare to fund it, and at this point is earmarked for that."
Another item on the agenda concerning the vocational facility was tabled. That item outlined the approval for bids for the turn lane project. The turn lane for the new facility reportedly will be across from Chera-Lyn Lane, which is the road leading to the Little League fields on East 4th Street.
Bennett's report to the board was one of positive gains in test scores over the past year with gains in every area, especially at the middle school level.
Bennett also discussed the new Safe Schools and Safety Policy, which has been outlined by the Site Based Decision Making Councils at every school in the district. Bennett said the council members and staff at each school could streamline the policy to fit their individual school although all safety policies must adhere with the state's school safety guidelines.
The board approved change orders to the North Laurel Middle School renovation and addition project. The remaining projects at that site include some roofing and plumbing as well as adding some asphalt, top soil near the curbs and seeding.
North Laurel High School student Kyle Jeffers and tennis coach Jim Conway were honored during Monday's meeting. Jeffers, a sophomore student, competed in the Top 3 Regional Golf Tournament and placed 35th out of 50 competitors.
In other actions, board members:
• Approved the McDaniel re-roofing project, of which the contract was approved last month.
• Approved project close out forms for re-roofing projects at Hunter Hills, Hazel Green and South Laurel Middle Schools, which are now completed.
• Approved all requests under the student learning and support services which include use of facilities, fundraiser requests, payment of bills, out of state student travel request, out of state staff travel request, and recommendations of approval for revised administrative procedure, board minutes, Treasurer Report for September 2013, re-create one in-school suspension instructional assistant position, and recommendation to provide $2,200 to the Council for Better Education to conduct a school funding adequacy study.
The board held an executive session to discuss pending litigation, but no action was taken on that issue.