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Board member on a mission

McCreary County Board of Education Member Deborah Gibson is on a mission.

Above and beyond her sworn duty to serve the McCreary County School District, Gibson has started a campaign to build a new pre-school building in the county, and is looking for help from some non-traditional sources.

With the growing popularity of crowd-funding websites, Gibson has launched a Go Fund Me account on the fund raising website with the hopes of securing enough donations to build a new building suitable for pre-school classes.

Gibson said her quest was inspired by a visit to the pre-school prior to a recent Board of Education meeting. The Board was preparing to discuss what possible steps could be taken to improve the conditions at the school, so Gibson went to the school to see first-hand what the staff and students were dealing with on a daily basis.

“I like to fix problems so after a visit to our preschool I knew something had to be done,” she said. “We had out grown this small school and the condition of this building upset me a lot.”

Gibson found issues at the old buildings that raised several concerns over the health and safety of the students who attend classes, and the teachers and aides who work there on a daily basis.

Gibson presented some of her concerns at the March Board of Education meeting, and spurred a debate on what to do with the buildings. She stated the Kentucky Department of Education has decreed that the buildings need to be replaced, at the very least.

Since then, the Board voted to relocate the students between Whitley City Elementary and Pine Knot Primary Schools, in what they hope is a temporary move.

But Gibson’s dream is a brand new 12-room facility, separate from any existing school, where the students and staff can stay together throughout the important foundation building experience. Also, a larger facility would mean every pre-school aged student in the county could attend classes.

Money is an issue.

With the school district’s funding issues and looming construction needs at other facilities, it would take an unexpected miracle for the District to be able to afford a new building in the near future.

“Our teachers and students deserve so much more,” she said. “With budget cuts and a strong recommendation from state that this building be closed a long time ago; it made me more aware that something had to be done.”

“The school system can not afford to build a new pre-school so inside this mind of mine, I believed the people of McCreary County could come together and build a new, safer school for our children.”

Gibson’s quest for help extends outside the borders of McCreary County.

Knowing the state of the local economy, Gibson hopes to catch the eye of a corporation or celebrity in hopes they will generously donate toward the cause.

“I will be reaching out to CEO’s of companies across Kentucky and the United States,” she said. “I’m hoping someone will adopt us and help us make this dream a reality.”

Her idea is to offer donators incentives to invest in McCreary County’s future.

“Our plan is to offer a classroom for $150,000.00,” she said. “We would paint the classroom in the color of their company and that room would be named in honor of their company.”

With the campaign nearing a month since the launch, Gibson is working on preparing an extended package to send out to prospective donors to further drive home the need.

Since the launch, only $50 has been raised, and Gibson is trying to get her drive the attention she feels it deserves.

A video presentation, showing the conditions at the pre-school is in the works that will be posted on the internet soon to further enhance the appeal of the campaign.

For more information on the campaign you can visit: http://www.gofundme.com/Build-A-Preschool.

Donations can also be made locally by visiting the Central Office at 120 Raider Way in Stearns.

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