Perry school board changes bus routes for elementary schools
by Amelia Holliday
The Perry County Board of Education met Thursday morning for a special called meeting to discuss revision of school boundaries, the district facility plan, and proposed changes for the 2012-13 school calendar.
Kenny Lucas, the district’s transportation manager, presented the board with new boundaries for the elementary school districts that would take effect in the coming school year, when East Perry Elementary is up and running.
The only students being affected, Lucas said, would be those who attend either A.B. Combs Elementary or Dennis Wooton Elementary, now East Perry Elementary, and depend on a school bus to take them to and from school. Only 55 students would actually face having to change schools.
“In all … Dennis Wooton is losing 20 to A.B. Combs, and A.B. Combs is losing 35 to Dennis Wooton,” Lucas said.
Interim superintendent Jonathan Jett said the parents from both schools were sent a letter in the last week with a map of the proposed new school boundaries and a form requesting information about where they plan to send their children to school in August.
Lucas said, “I’ve had kids’ parents that have called in the last two or three weeks … demanding to go to Dennis Wooton.”
Jett said changing these boundaries, and having the bus drivers stick strictly to them, will help eliminate problems the district has been having with overlapping bus routes and students bus-hopping to get to the school they want to attend. He also said this will remedy any future problems with everyone in the district wanting to attend the new elementary school.
“We’ve got to set the boundaries, because, now, we’ve got two K through 8 schools and you don’t need a bus going to both of them, you shouldn’t have a bus going to both of them anymore,” Jett said.
Jett said parents would always have the option of driving their child to a bus drop off or to the school of their choice if they did not live in the elementary school district they wished for their child to attend.
The board unanimously voted to approve the new boundaries, with the stipulation that changes could be made in the future if problems arise.
The board also approved building usage requests, as well as the payment to the city of Hazard for the sewer project at East Perry Elementary.
Jody Maggard, financial manager for the district, said the Darfork Sanitary Sewer Extension Project, a project that was bid to McGraw Hill Construction in January and would supply sewer lines to the new elementary school, would cost the district $96,095.
The board was presented with the district facilities plan which the local planning committee (LPC) finished drafting in January, and sent to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to be approved before it was sent to the board to be voted on.
The plan was for the next four years for construction projects in the district. Although Jett said it does not have all of the final numbers yet for every project, the plan lists a new elementary school to be built that would combine A. B. Combs, Willard, and Big Creek schools as first priority; the school would have a 600 student capacity. The next priority project would be to build a new school for Chavies Elementary, which would have a 300 student capacity. The projects would cost $14,100,372 and $9,223,500 respectively, and would be built on new sites yet to be determined.
The board will vote on whether or not to approve the plan at the regular board meeting on March 21.
A new dress code policy for staff in the district had its first reading at the meeting. Jett said the new policy had almost no changes in it compared to the current policy; this would just be an adoption of an official policy, since there is not a current policy in the conduct handbook.
The board also approved plans to change the school calendar for this year if the high school basketball teams advance in the state tournament. If Perry Central’s boys’ team advances then the schools will take March 7 and 8 off, and if the girls’ team advances then school will be off on March 14 and 15.
Jett said the district is in good shape, having to make up only one day so far for the year. The district is set to finish the school year on May 6 at this time.
The board will hold another special called meeting Saturday, March 2 at 9 a.m. to discuss superintendent search plans.
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