The Clay County Board of Education, along with Superintendent Billy Walker, met Thursday, November 19. 2015 for their November session. All members were present, with the exception of Blaine Lacy. At this session, Mr. Shane Davidson rotated to President and Greg Denney to Vice President, as outlined in Board policy.
A small group of concerned individuals were present to express their interest in attaining the former Vocational School Building on Oak Grove Rd. Rev. E Tramaine Solomon, Doris Allen, and Terry Heflin addressed the Board with their thoughts and outline of prospective plans for the building.
Solomon served as Spokesperson on behalf of the Washington Heights community. Solomon stated the people of this community were hoping to see this historic building turned back over to the community because these citizens felt that it was at the heart of their community.
Solomon explained they wanted to use the building to hold community functions and programs to enhance this community and bridge the gap for future generations. Solomon reported this group would be tenacious in their fight to attain ownership of this building and would continue to attend meetings to monitor these necessary steps taken that would hopefully lead to the building’s rightful return to the community.
Another concerned citizen, Doris Allen, representing Trinity Life Center, explained she felt the building would be an excellent location for an Adult Learning Center for the illiterate and mentally handicapped young adults, and also as a trade and vocational skill training center for community members.
Superintendent Walker explained to this group of the process that would have to be taken for the fate of this building in question. If the Board decides to go this route, the necessary steps to be taken includes petitioning the state to dispose of the property, an appraisal, followed by an attempt to sell the property. Then, if the property did not sell through sealed bids, the BOE could then discuss their options. If this option was chosen after this process was completed, Walker stated they would have to file a transfer of property to as a 501c3 non-profit organization listed entity with the community.
The Board thanked this group for their presentation.
All Financial statements from the months of September and October 2015 were approved. Chief Financial Officer Brandi Bishop presented the members with a year-end packet which outlined the comparison of General fund revenues from 2014 to 2015, that included the following detailed analysis:
- Local Revenues increased from 2014 to 2015 by $27,783.22
- State revenues decreased by $25,978.49. This amount included the reduction in funding received from the foundation program in 2014. These funds are tied to the certification, years’ experience, etc. of BOE employees.
- Federal revenues decreased by $47,790.49 which is made up of the forestry money that is passed through the commission. This avenue of revenue will likely continue to decrease dramatically and possibly disappear altogether.
- Lastly, miscellaneous revenue increased by $9,890.72 from 2014 to 2015. This increase is due to, in part, the revenue received from Head Start for the rental of the Primary School as well as scrap and sale of miscellaneous asset inventory.
The conclusion to this report was that there was improvements in 2015. The General fund balance climbed $155,400.78 from $486,338.03 to $641,738.81. While this was a big step in improvement for the General Fund, this amount is still only a half of one month’s operating balance, and a far cry from the ultimate goal of three months’ operating balance. In the event of proration, this could have a dramatic effect on these figures.
When asked by BOE member Arthur Oliver how they could go about getting back up to their mandatory one month operating expenses, Bishop explained how vital programs were being underfunded and urged the community to reach out to their local politicians and legislature on this issue.
“Transportation and education foundation were underfunded and lack of our local tax base does not allow us to withstand the cuts from the state. We were doing everything to cut cost without cutting services to our children”, said Bishop ” We are doing the best we can with what we have, but we really need more funding.”
Twenty (20) Personnel actions were approved with no discussion, which included the following:
Resignation letter was approved for Heather Thompson.
All Professional Development and Field Trip request
- Substitute Teacher request were approved and will be added to the school lists when background checks are complete
- Open Position for Elementary Teacher at Ashland Elementary School
- Open positions for Two (2) Bus Driver positions (Pay will be based on route mileage