Thanks to a mild winter this year, students at Madison Central and Madison Southern high schools will graduate before Memorial Day.

When students return to Foley Middle and Madison Central High schools in August, they will be under new gymnasium roofs.

The Madison County School Board on Thursday awarded contracts for roof work at the two schools and set graduation dates.

Madison Southern seniors will graduate in a ceremony Thursday, May 24. The MCHS ceremony will be Friday, May 25. Both will begin at 7 p.m. in Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum.

The last school date for all students will be Thursday, May 24. School was canceled for only two days this year, Superintendent Tommy Floyd  said, when asked by Betsy Bohannon, board chair.

Ending classes and graduating  seniors prior to Memorial Day was unusual, she said.

Several competitive bids were received for both roofing jobs, architect Tony  Thomas of Clotfelter-Samokar reported.

Foley Middle School in Berea will get a new gym roof for $202,718. American  Roofing & Metal of Louisville had the lowest of eight bids received, Thomas  said.

A $193,200 contract for a new roof on Madison Central’s gymnasium was awarded to Tremco Roofing of Beachwood, Ohio.

It had the lowest of nine bids.

Noting that some bids were only slightly higher than the lowest, board member  John Lackey asked Thomas if he believed the low bidders were best for each job.

The architect said he was familiar with one contractor and had reviewed references for both, and he was comfortable with awarding contracts to them.

During the public comment period at the meeting’s conclusion, Debora Secchio of  Madison County Tax Watch told the board the group was surprised district students’ performance on core content tests was not mentioned in its evaluation  of the superintendent.

The test scores had been trending downward district-wide since 2007, with only  three elementary schools, Kit Carson, White Hall and Waco “holding their own.”

Secchio said she was especially disappointed to see both district high schools’ scores trending downward “significantly” when they had been “rewarded  with beautiful sports complexes.”

In March, the board approved a $4.6 million upgrade to Madison Central’s  football and track complex.

Facilities at Madison Southern had been upgraded  previously.

“(Athletics) is not where emphasis needs to be,” Secchio said.

She noted that the introduction of Superintendent Floyd’s biographical sketch on the district’s website stated his primary goal was student achievement and  improving test scores.

After reviewing the board’s professional evaluation of the superintendent, Secchio said she and other members of the Tax Watch group made no mention of the downward trend in students’ academic performance.

She asked the board to  consider amending its evaluation of Floyd to include that issue.

If the board decides to move the district’s central office next year, the move should be budget neutral, she also said.

Secchio was followed to the podium by Chris Thiele, also of the Tax Watch  group.

District test scores are trending down “horribly,” he said.

He asked the superintendent how he would evaluate his performance in light of  the trends.

Was it worthy of a raise, while other educators received no raises? Thiele asked.

“If you are going to pay this man and justify him staying in this county, you need to ask him to have standards,” Thiele said. “If the job is not being done, and test scores say it’s not being done, maybe when you hire someone you should ask them to focus on the job they’re being paid  for.”

If Floyd was “on par for what he is supposed to be doing, he should be standing up and showing it,” Thiele continued.

“I am going to be a thorn in your side until I start seeing results,” he said.

The board welcomed a new member, Chris Hager, who was appointed by the state education commissioner to fill the seat vacated by former member Doug Whitlock who resigned effective Dec. 31.

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