Lori Cobb

Lori Cobb was unanimously elected to serve as the Madison County School Board Chair. 

The Madison County Board of Education has a new chair and vice chair.

To begin their meeting, 2020 Madison County Board Chair Samantha Burford, motioned to elect Lori Cobb as the 2021 chair. She was unanimously approved. Burford then motioned for Brandon Rutherford to serve as the 2021 vice-chair — he was also unanimously approved.

“Thank you for the privileged of serving as the chair,” Cobb said. “I have incredibly big shoes to fill. I will do my best, and I know we will all work together as a team. So, if I trip and stumble, there will be four other people to help me pick myself up.”

Superintendent David Gilliam also thanked the board members for their service, due to January being School Board Recognition Month in Kentucky.

“Madison County School Board members… are responsible for our community's most precious resource and the key to its future — our children and their educational opportunities,” Gilliam said. “At a time when state and federal funding continue to shrink, our school board members haven’t flinched in the face of challenges or shied away from their responsibilities. They serve with minimal compensation and maximum effort.”

“It is a privileged and an honor to serve Madison County Schools,” Cobb said.

As Thursday’s meeting progressed, the board approved the 2021 school calendar.

Deputy Superintendent Randy Neely told the board the calendar was one which teachers and staff liked the most, out of two options given to them.

With this calendar, teachers will return to school on Aug. 9, and students will have their first day of classes on Aug. 18.

Neely explained the gap between those start dates is meant to give teachers the chance to be able to get together and “do some collaboration.”

“Hopefully, we will be ‘full go’ by then,” Neely said. “...That might be the first time that everybody is good to go. We may be really busy at the time. It’ll be good for teachers and principals to have them in the building before they start.”

Fall Break for Madison County students will be Oct. 11 through Oct. 15. Spring break will be from Apr. 4 through Oct. 8.

After adding Election Day to the calendar as an instruction day, the student's last day will be May 24.

During his superintendent report, Gilliam said the school system is still working vaccine distribution — which should be soon. He said staff should be vaccinated either Feb. 1 or that week. He said they do not yet know what entity will be administering the vaccines.

Other business:

Amy Smith presented information on Madison County School’s reading recovery for 2019 through 2020. Smith said in 2019 through 2020, Madison County’s reading recovery teachers served, in some capacity, 1,011 students. From 2005 to 2020, Madison County’s reading recovery has reached 13,545. Smith said 80% of Madison County’s students successfully exited the program in 2019 through 2020, versus the state of Kentucky’s average, which was 66%.

Chief Financial Officer Mark Woods told the board, as of Dec. 31, the district ended with a reconcile balance of 85,615,959.6. He said that number was up compared to the number this time last year. He noted the board did have a bond sale for the Richmond ATC, which he said is a significant portion of the balance.

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