Echo News Update

The Laurel County School District will boast four new school buses soon - an act approved by board members during Monday's bi-monthly meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Doug Bennett told board members that the district had received funding to offset 25% of the costs of each bus, quoting a price of $28,244 per bus for a total expense of $112,976. Bennett said the new Thomas models would feature 78-passenger capability with rear engines, which is what the school district has been purchasing for the past several years. Those new buses will replace four 2001 International diesel engines, which are being replaced for better economic and energy efficient models. The older buses have been "scrapped," Bennett said.

Board members also approved emergency leave for quarantined staff, allowing up to 20 days.

"We've had some staff who were quarantined more than once," Bennett explained. "We receive notifications from the health department as whether some staff have tested positive or have been exposed. This additional leave will cover them if they have to be quarantined more than once."

Bids for office and instructional supplies were also awarded, with Cumberland Valley Office Supplies submitting the lowest bid on office supplies. Office Depot received the bid for the instructional supplies.

A cafeteria manager position and four Special Needs Assistant positions were also re-created during Monday's meeting. The cafeteria manager position is at Camp Ground Elementary, while Hunter Hills is in need of two Special Needs Assistants. A new Special Needs Assistant at Hazel Green Elementary and South Laurel Middle School were also approved.

Other actions taken included the approval of:

• GoFan digital ticket sales service

• Laurel County Driver's License Examiner's contract with Somerset Independent Schools

• Application for Kentucky Clean Diesel Grant program

• Agreement between Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and Kentucky locally operated Medicaid Nurse Aide program at Center for Innovation

• North Laurel High School's intent to apply for two Advanced Kentucky Teaching Scholarship for the 2021-2022 school year.

At the November 9 meeting, Bennett recognized board member Ed Jones for his military service and expressed appreciation to all veterans as Veterans Day approached. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions this year, the traditional in-person ceremony was not possible although those attending the meeting viewed a video of all school personnel who served in the military.

Kyle Mink, principal at McDaniel Learning Center, was recognized and presented with a certificate for the center being recognized for the fifth time by the Kentucky Department of Education as an Alternative Program of Distinction,

Renovations at the Laurel County Day Treatment center was also approved. Those will add four classrooms, a computer lab, four resource rooms, cafeteria, kitchen, office administration area, student and staff restrooms and renovation of the gym. Changes to the gym will include replacement of windows, roof, HVAC, lighting, electrical system, doors and hardware, with site update for storm drainage, building demolition, utility upgrades, fire protection and septic system.

The artificial turf project at South Laurel High School football field was also approved. That first project plan cost is based on those that have taken place at NLHS.

Board members also approved the School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) plan for fiscal year 2021 assistance in the amount of $59,002. Those funds will be used for technology and matched by the school district.

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