The Richmond Register

Local News

April 21, 2013

School board split over consent items

MADISON COUNTY — A regular Madison County School Board meeting may last almost two hours or more, depending on how many students are featured in the monthly “showcase” or how many items are on the agenda.

During a meeting’s consent agenda, a group of items “routine in nature are presented to the board in time to review before the meeting and are approved in one motion,” board chair Mona Isaacs says at every meeting.

However, two items met opposition from board members John Lackey and Mary Renfro at Thursday’s board meeting: A technology plan and a “cost-neutral” position change in central office.

Typically, the consent agenda contains approvals for school trips, claims, leaves of absence or the superintendent’s personnel actions.

Renfro said she had not had enough time to review all the items.

“We’re still not getting the reports we need seven days in advance. It happened again this month. This is the third month in a row, and we’re still not getting it in a timely manner … For the ones that really want to see what’s going on, I need to have that ahead of time,” Renfro said.

The claims were sent to the board Friday afternoon, but the rest of the consent agenda items were not made available until Monday afternoon because of an oversight in operating the file-sharing program, said Superintendent Tommy Floyd.

“It's hard to vote when I’ve not had enough time to look at it,” said Renfro, who suggested they just not vote on the consent agenda Thursday night.

“We can’t do that,” Isaacs replied. “We must conduct the business of the board this evening … if there are specific items you’re uncomfortable with…”

Renfro said she was concerned with “different things and contracts that cost lots and lots of money.”

The consent item on the ratification of the “cost-neutral position” change in central office went through several votes before it passed 3-2.

The district saved about $36,000 in central office costs through position eliminations, Floyd said. “I gave the board a complete rationale from Mr. (Randy) Peffer. We broke down how we had eliminated a position in central office in administrative support. We also eliminated another assistant superintendent, which brings us down to three as a district.”

The recommendation is to add part of that savings to the salary of a part-time secondary instructional supervisor (for the five middle schools and two high schools) to make it a full-time position that would pay in the low $80,000s, said Dr. Kevin Hub, assistant superintendent in human resources.

Currently, the part-time position pays around $46,000, he said.

“The position was valuable enough that we thought it worth your consideration and its continuance,” Floyd said.

“The term ‘instructional supervisor’ just seems so amorphous, that it’s maybe something we could just do without,” Lackey said. “Save that extra $35,000. That’s the sort of thing that shouldn’t be put in the consent agenda. It should be put in something else where we can hash things out.”

“I think that’s what we’re doing right now. Discussing it,” Floyd replied.

He never received feedback from the board indicating the position change should not be on the consent agenda, the superintendent said.

“We have had conversations about this,” Isaacs said. The board members received an email a week or two ago about the details of the position, she said. “Everybody got a copy of it.”

Before it passed, Lackey suggested tabling the position change item and only Renfro offered her support. Isaacs, along with board members Becky Coyle and Beth Brock, voted against tabling the item.

The same three board members then voted to ratify the position change.

Later in the meeting, Floyd announced a second central office shift.

Chief Academic Officer Randy Peffer is leaving the district to take a position at the Kentucky Department of Education as a “turnaround specialist” in Jefferson County.

Peffer came to Madison County in 2006 and replaced Floyd, who was formerly the chief academic officer, the superintendent said. “I’ve met few people that care about kids more than Randy Peffer does.” Floyd said.

The district will seek a replacement for Peffer's position, said Erin Stewart, the district's community education director.

Another item Renfro wanted pulled out of the consent agenda was the District Technology Plan because “it had money written all over it,” she said. Lackey also wanted more explanation.

Floyd said the plan was “not a commitment for additional funds.”

The plan is used to report to state and federal governments about what the district is paying for technology, said Bob Moore, the district’s new technology director.

The district receives federal funding from a program that reimburses the school district close to $500,000 a year, he said.

“If we don’t submit this claim, we lose that federal funding. This is a nonbinding framework that we use to plan and implement technology in the district,” he said.

Lackey was satisfied with Moore’s explanation, and the motion carried to approve the technology plan.

Renfro also pointed out money fluctuations in the district’s claims.

However, those amounts are different each month, depending on when the bills are paid for fuel, food or bonds, for example, Floyd said. “There will always be things that go up and down.”

“These are bills that we owe that are being paid,” Isaacs explained. “It’s not a new obligation that the district is taking … it’s kind of like a checkbook register.”

Another item of concern for Renfro was the funding plans for a grant to increase the number of students who take advanced placement courses.

But this too was not a budget obligation, Floyd said. The program is totally grant-funded and there is no cost to the district, except for minimal classroom supplies.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-20 Shoulders-B.jpg Eggs fly at park

    Easter has probably never been so “eggstravagant” in Richmond as it was Saturday during the annual Eggstravaganza in Irvine-McDowell Park.
    For the first time, thousands of eggs were dropped, appropriately by an “eggbeater”-type helicopter, in addition to thousands of eggs already scattered on the grass below. Together, they numbered about 10,000, according to Erin Moore, Richmond Parks and Recreation director.

    April 20, 2014 12 Photos

  • City awaits funds for Water Street project

    Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
    However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.

    April 20, 2014

  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • KY 52 link to I-75 to be discussed May 13

    While a proposed link from Nicholasville to Exit 95 on Interstate 75 north of Richmond has garnered attention and organized opposition, the state also is developing plans to link I-75 to another community to the west.

    April 20, 2014

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results