The Richmond Register


October 11, 2013

County board votes to implement full-day kindergarten in 2014

Asks General Assembly to restore education funding

MADISON COUNTY — As anticipated, the Madison County School Board voted 5-0 to approve the implementation of full-day kindergarten starting in the 2014-15 school year at Thursday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

 “I’m very excited to be on the board that will make this happen,” said member Becky Coyle before she offered the motion. Coyle is completing her fourth four-year term representing the second district and is the board’s longest serving member.

“Somebody shout ‘Amen,’” board chair Mona Isaacs said after the vote.

Former school board members told her they were excited about this decision, she said.

In early September, the board voted 4-1 to increase property taxes to fund full-day kindergarten.

Madison County is one of eight Kentucky school districts that currently offers only half-day kindergarten.

The other 161 districts, including Berea Independent, offer full-day classes, and five offer either option, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Board sends resolution to General Assembly

State budget cuts have decreased education funding back to 2007 levels, Superintendent Elmer Thomas told the board.

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday recently approached the state board with a proposal to ask that the legislature restore funding to at least 2009 levels, Thomas said.

Several districts already have approved a resolution similar to one the Madison County board adopted 5-0 Thursday.

The resolution states, “mandates of Unbridled Learning continue to increase, putting additional stress and responsibilities on teachers and administrators...” while “...the Kentucky Legislature has broken their pledge to Kentucky’s students, failing to fund the mandates of Unbridled Learning.”

The resolution said “failure of the legislature” has caused districts to make “significant cuts to their budgets and to personnel, compelling school boards to increase property taxes in order that districts might continue to operate and serve the students.”

District to purchase ten new buses

To keep up the district’s bus fleet, at least 10 new buses should be purchased each year, Thomas said. The district’s 180 buses run around 141 routes for a total of 10,000 miles every day and 1.7 million miles annually, not including field trips, he said. Each bus has a life of around 14 years.

There are several buses that sit in lots near the schools, but those are funded by the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) and are only used in the case of an emergency.

The board approved the purchase 10 new buses: five 72-capacity buses at around $88,000 each; three 78-capacity buses at $105,000 each; and two 66-capacity buses at around $94,000 each, with certain add-ons for special needs students.

Around 50 to 60 percent of the cost is eventually reimbursed through the state, Thomas said.

However, at the suggestion of board member John Lackey, the motion was amended to say the purchase price was “to not exceed” a total of $981,523.

This amendment will give the district flexibility to call other manufacturers who may be able to give the district a better deal on the 10 buses.  

Chief Operations Officer Kevin Hub said the quote was based on a state Education Department’s bid contract.

Hub said he and transportation director Skip Benton also consider which type of buses are the most reliable, the easiest to service and have the most affordable replacement parts.

“I just don’t have real confidence in the Kentucky Department of Education cutting us the best bargain,” Lackey said. “I’ve felt all along … that there’s been a real reluctance to enter into the kind of negotiations that you would do if you went out and bought your own vehicle.”

Thomas and Hub said they would call a few more manufacturers to see if a better deal can be reached.

“All they can do is say ‘no,’ right?” said board member Mary Renfro.

At the end of Thursday’s meeting, board members went into an executive session to discuss “the potential real property acquisition (or sale) for which publicity at present stage might/would be likely to affect the value.”

Look in Sunday’s Register for a second story about Thursday’s school board meeting.

Crystal Wylie can be reached at or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.

Text Only
  • 4-16 CMMShealthfair5.jpg Health fairs cover contemporary teenage topics

    Berea Community High School health students coordinated their first all-day health fair in November that was catered to elementary students.

    But their spring fair Monday handled more mature issues that targeted the middle and high school crowd, said health teacher Cathy Jones.

    April 16, 2014 13 Photos

  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-10 EKUDanceTheatre1.jpg EKU Dance Theatre tonight

    Performances are 8 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building.
    Tickets are available at the Whitlock Building ticket window or by calling 622-2171 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
    Tickets are $5 for students, $10 general admission and free for children under the age of 12. Tickets also may be purchased at the door.
    This semester’s concert offers a variety of dance forms including modern/contemporary, hip hop, Middle Eastern, musical theater and Latin jazz.

    April 10, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-11 ChildAbusePrevPinwheels.jpg Pinwheels for prevention

    Madison Central High School CIA, or Central in Action club, placed 473 silver and blue pinwheels in the flower beds in front of the school, each representing a substantiated child abuse case reported in Madison County in 2013 to show support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-10 TibetanMonks1.jpg Tibetan monks provide week of cultural experiences

    Berea College has had a special relationship with the Tibetan government-in-exile dating back to the 1990s. That is when the late John Stephenson, then Berea’s president, befriended the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, according to Jeff Richey, chair of Asian Studies at the college.

    April 10, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-10 RedCedar4.jpg Open for learning

    While some may not have known all of the words or the exact notes to sing, parents and children in the Red Cedar Learning Cooperative enjoyed an afternoon jam session together Tuesday, complete with guitars, a ukulele, drums and a harmonica.

    April 9, 2014 13 Photos

  • 4-4 MightyCasey1a.jpg ‘The Mighty Casey’

    Show times for the 19th-century poem turned opera, “The Mighty Casey,” are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday in the Black Box Theatre of the EKU Center for the Arts.
    It is presented by the Eastern Kentucky University music department’s Opera Workshop and the EKU Opera Guild, a student organization.
    Opera-goers will have seats right behind the pitcher’s mound as the story of the Mudville Nine and its star player, “the Mighty Casey,” unfolds.
    While living in a “sad little run-down town,” Mudville townspeople rally around their baseball hero to lift their spirits, said director and music professor Joyce Wolf.

    April 4, 2014 8 Photos

  • Science building ground breaking planned for summer

    A $66.3 million appropriation in the new state budget will fully fund completion of Eastern Kentucky University’s New Science Building, according to EKU President Michael Benson.
    A summer ground breaking ceremony is planned for the project, he said.
    Although the building’s $64 million first phase began use in January 2012, completion has awaited funding until now.

    April 1, 2014

  • 4-1 EKUDanceTheatre3.jpg Eastern Kentucky University Dance Theatre - Spring concert set April 9-12

    The Eastern Kentucky University Dance Theatre will present its spring concert Wednesday, April 9, though Saturday, April 12, in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building
    Performances will be 8 p.m. April 9-12 with an additional 2 p.m. Saturday show.

    April 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Scholarship available to those providing early childhood education

    Kentucky’s child care providers and those who train child care providers may be eligible for the Early Childhood Development Scholarship to further their college education.

    March 31, 2014