At the Thursday meeting of the Madison County Board of Education, Superintendent David Gilliam called those working in the district’s schools, heroes.

“The main thing I want to do tonight… Is honor our staff members that are fighting the good fight for the kids in Madison County,” Gilliam said. “So far this school year, we’ve been able to maintain instruction every day. This is due entirely to the dedication and diligence of our school employees.

“… As we started out this year, we said we would keep our students in person unless we reach a point where we can’t staff our schools in a way where we can adequately provide a safe environment. We might reach that point soon, but we have not yet. Just when I think we’ve reached the edge, our staff members have been able to reach down and find a little more energy, a little more grit, a little more determination to keep going.”

Gilliam spoke of the sacrifices the staff had made. He said many have given up aspects of personal lives, so they are “able to avoid exposure.” Some have delayed medical procedures and canceled personal days. Gilliam said bus drivers run double routes, cafeteria workers are understaffed but still feeding the students, and more.

“With all this said, make no mistake we would not be keeping these schools open without the significant sacrifice of our staff members… And the dedication they have to the students we serve,” Gilliam said. “Tonight, I consider each and every one of them heroes.”

Also during Thursday evening's meeting, attention was given to the new Ignite Academy campuses.

The board approved a change order for the Ignite Academy – North Campus and the Ignite Academy – South Campus.

The Ignite Academy – North Campus change order is due to an owner preference to change to a different clock system for the Academy, according to Tony Thomas, a representative of Clotfelter-Samokar Architects.

This change would not create an increase in the general contractor’s contract. Instead, it would increase the purchase order. The change will cost $3,482,47.

“The reason for that is so the brand we’re using there is consistent with brands we’re using throughout the district,” Superintendent David Gilliam said.

The Ignite Academy – South Campus change order changes the access control, the scan cards used for access, vendor.

“It’s a zero dollar change; we’re taking it away from the general contractor and adding it with a purchase order back the same exact dollar amount. So all we’re doing is changing the manufacturer and no net increase to the project,” Thomas said. Gilliam echoed the idea that for the same amount they’re having removed from not using one contractor, the contractor they are switching to will put in the access controls.

Along the same lines, the board motioned to approve the purchase order for the South Campus in the amount of $41,700.

Other business:

• The board motioned to approve the consent agenda items. Those items were as follows: approve claims, superintendent’s personnel actions, leaves of absence, approve the Madison County High School baseball trip to Florida April 2 through April 7, 2020, declare maintenance surplus and authorize the auction of those items, the 2021-2022 certified appeals panel and approve two shortened school day applications. The motion was approved.

• The board approved the motion to create and ratify a migrant para position. Gilliam explained this position would help close learning gaps for migrant students over the last year. It would only last for a year and would be paid for by the migrant grant funds.

• The board approved the renewal of Edgenuity. Edgenuity is the online curriculum set the district uses.

• The board approved the technology activity report, a collection of technology purchases, and employee pay associated with technology for the prior fiscal year.

• The board motioned to request approval by the Kentucky Board of Education to purchase the property for the new Madison Middle School. The motion passed. The board voted a few months ago to purchase the property for a new Madison Middle School.

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