By Eugenia Jones
Appointees will fill vacant seats in Districts 1 and 3
With vacancies declared in Districts 1 and 3 during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting, the McCreary County Board of Education is now functioning with only three board members. The remaining board members now have sixty days to appoint individuals to fill the two vacancies.
Board members voted unanimously to declare vacancies in the two districts. The vacancy in District 1 was declared due to the recent passing of long-time School Board Member Nelda Gilreath. The vacancy in District 3 resulted after Chairperson Dustin Stephens submitted his resignation during the meeting. In submitting his resignation, Stephens said he has moved his residence from District 3 and therefore is no longer eligible to serve as board member for that district. However, Stephens noted he is now a resident of District 1 and announced his intent to submit an application to be considered as an appointee to fill the District 1 vacancy.
Members of the Board of Education also acknowledged a non-acceptance letter from Noah Duncan who ran unopposed and was elected as incoming District 3 Board Member during the election earlier this month. Duncan did not accept the elected position because he no longer resides in Kentucky.
The statute (Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 160.190) governing the appointment of individuals to fill the vacancies is, in part, as follows:
(1) Any vacancy in any board of education shall be filled by a majority vote of the remaining members of the local board within sixty (60) days after the vacancy occurs. Within thirty (30) days of the vacancy, the local board shall, for two (2) weeks, have solicited applications by posting a notice announcing the vacancy on the district’s Web site and by placing an advertisement in the newspaper of the largest general circulation in the county. An applicant shall file a letter of intent with the local board affirming that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements as established by KRS 160.180 and shall submit with the application a transcript evidencing completion of the twelfth grade or results of a twelfth grade equivalency examination. After the two (2) weeks of advertisement on the district’s Web site and in the newspaper, the local board shall select from the applicants under this subsection to fill the vacancy.
(2) If the local board fails to make an appointment under subsection (1) of this section, then the chief state school officer shall fill the vacancy within sixty (60) days of the failure.
(3)The member chosen under this section shall meet the eligibility requirements as established by KRS 160.180 and shall hold office until his or her successor is elected or appointed, and has qualified.
(4)Any vacancy having an unexpired term of one (1) year or more on August 1 after the vacancy occurs shall be filled for the unexpired term by an election to be held at the next regular election after the vacancy occurs. The elected member shall succeed the member chosen under subsection (1) or (2) of this section to fill the vacancy.
In other business, the Board heard a presentation of the 2019-2020 Financial Audit Report by Joe Montgomery of White and Company, P.S.C. During his presentation, Montgomery noted this year’s audit was required to address last year’s (2018-19) findings of lax management controls and overrides. Montgomery said the 2019/20 audit revealed the current administration has adequately tightened payroll and Munis systems making previous findings which occurred under a former administration irrelevant.
Montgomery noted school districts are now required to report retirement liabilities. These liabilities are reflected in the audit report. While long-term retirement liabilities do not represent dollar amounts that must be paid out immediately, they do impact potential bonding decisions. Underfunded retirement liability is reflected at both the state and local levels.
Overall, Montgomery reported the results of the audit are “clean’ and was highly complimentary of the current finance officer, Lauren King, and the District’s finance staff.
Also during the meeting, McCreary County School Superintendent Corey Keith and Board Members honored the memory of the late District 1 Board Member Nelda Gilreath. Gilreath, who passed away on November 3 just a few hours after the announcement of her re-election as school board member, was a long-time educator in McCreary County. Gilreath taught for thirty-three years in the McCreary County School District and served as a school board member for twelve years. Her memory was honored during the meeting with the reading of Gilreath’s obituary and the viewing of a special tribute video depicting Gilreath’s life-long passion for education and her devotion to church, family, and community. Superintendent Keith and the Board Members spoke glowingly of Gilreath’s service and attributes. Superintendent Keith also presented a plaque to Gilreath’s husband, Vernon.
The Board also unanimously passed several items by consent.
The McCreary County Board of Education meets in regular session each month on the fourth Monday at 6:00 p.m.