Although the agenda for the McCreary County Board of Education’s rescheduled May meeting reflected few items for discussion, board members Roxanne Shook and Nelda Gilreath raised questions which, at times, led to some serious debate.
One item pulled from the actions by consent portion of the agenda and placed for discussion during the meeting was a proposal to approve up to 25 additional days above principal contract for Michael M. Cash for interim superintendent duties through June 30, 2016 at the current daily rate. Board Member Shook questioned Cash as to whether or not he had originally, at the beginning of his duties as interim superintendent, told the Board he would not ask for extra compensation for those interim responsibilities. Cash responded by stating he is currently doing two jobs (e.g. principal of the district alternative school and interim superintendent) and only being paid for one. Cash stated he had agreed to work for principal’s pay; however noted he has already worked eight days beyond his principal’s contract of 220 days. With just over a month of school remaining, Cash indicated he could work beyond his contract days with pay or take off until his new contract as superintendent begins on July 1. With Board Attorney Timothy Crawford advising the Board that someone must be present to deal with personnel matters, all board members in attendance voted to approve Cash’s requested pay for working additional days.
Initially, Board Members Shook and Gilreath backed away from approving the 2016-2017 tentative general fund budget citing concerns over a May 13 posting for the recently created administrative assistant to the Director of Special Education (DOSE) position. (In a move designed to save money, the DOSE position operated this past year as a limited, contractual position rather than a full-time position as it had in the past.) Typically, the creation of any new position has been brought to the Board for creation and listed on the agenda as an individual action. Since this had not occurred with the DOSE assistant position, the two board members questioned how the position was created and funded. Superintendent Cash replied the position had been placed within the District’s salary schedule and was created when the Board approved the salary schedule. Board Attorney Crawford concurred with Superintendent Cash about the legality of creating a new position in this manner. Both Shook and Gilreath stated they were unaware of the Board creating positions by simply approving the salary schedule.
Citing the need for more discussion about the DOSE assistant position, Gilreath and Shook both initially voted against the tentative general fund budget while Board Members Deborah Gibson and Rhonda Armijo voted in favor. With Chairman Brandon Kidd absent and the resulting deadlock vote of 2-2, Cash stated that a special called meeting needed to be arranged before May 31 as the tentative general fund budget must be submitted to Frankfort by that date. When further discussion revealed the salary for the newly created DOSE administrative assistant position is not reflected in the tentative general fund budget, but in a later federal budget, Board Member Gilreath changed her vote in favor and the tentative general budget passed 3-1.
Board Member Shook also asked for clarification of the “Parents Responsible for Children’s Violations” section of the McCreary County School District Code. The section reflects state law mandating parent responsibility for any violation of KRS laws 159.010 to 159.170 pertaining to school attendance and truancy. According to state regulations, parents who intentionally fail to comply with the requirements shall be fined $100 for the first offense and $250 dollars for the second offense. The fines imposed under the KRS, after payment of prosecution and recovery costs, will be paid into the treasury of the district board of education and become part of the district’s school fund.
The Board also approved the District’s application for non-traditional instructional (NTI) days. If approved by state officials, the District will be eligible to receive up to ten student attendance days when alternative instructional plans and methods are used on days when schools are closed for health or safety reasons. McCreary County’s application for NTI days proposes the use of teacher websites as the primary learning management system. The District will also use phone, email, and provide personal copies of educational materials to ensure student access to the non-traditional instruction. The expectation will be for students to submit their completed work within two days of returning to school.
Among other actions, the Board also voted to reject and redo the random drug testing bid and to require the inclusion of mouth swabs for use with students and/or staff who cannot use traditional urine cups.
The next meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education will be Thursday June 9, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at the Board’s Central Office.