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Career and Tech, NTI days focus of BOE meeting

SALYERSVILLE – The Magoffin County Board of Education held their first regular meeting for the calendar year on Tuesday, January 23, discussing the progress being made at the new career and technical center and NTI days.

Mike Sparkman, the leading architect on the career and technical center addition, said he did a walkthrough prior to the meeting and was able to get through 75% of punch list items, noting he will take that back to his office and discuss the progress with the construction manager. He also noted that CODELL’s schedule has the completion date tentatively set from one month from now. He said they now have a CO (Certificate of Occupancy), furniture arrives next week, and they are troubleshooting some final steps with the fire alarm system and heating systems.

“Overall, I’m happy with the addition,” Sparkman said. “I think there’s some genuine successes with the way it blends with the existing building and the suites are nice and generous. I think it’s a success, but we need to close it out.”

Sparkman also invited the board to schedule a time for the board members to come do a walkthrough, as well as a community event when it’s finished.

He said there are some paint fixes that will need to be made and a garage door installed, and they will need to look into pricing for completing the retaining wall out front, but he’s happy with the current progress.

Magoffin County Schools Director of Pupil Personnel Justin Bailey updated the board on this year’s calendar, noting that Tuesday was the 91st day of school (counting NTI days), leaving 79 days until the end of the school year. As of Tuesday’s meeting, he said the last day of school is right now May 20.

That week does have an election day in it, so he hopes to have school wrapped up by May 24, which is the Friday before Memorial Day. He said they have four more NTI days they can use and the three more days of that week to work with to try to get kids out of school before Memorial Day.

He said they also have the first week of April still set for Spring Break, as well.

Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Chris Meadows told the board that the central office has been studying the two different proposed budgets released by the House and the governor in the ongoing legislative session. He noted they are working with Representative John Blanton to give him some of their data on how each budget would impact this district. Rep. Blanton is taking that information back to people he works with to hopefully come up with something that would impact the district better than it currently is. He said they have a scheduled meeting with legislators in February, as well, and they will be participating in that to share the data with them, as well.

Superintendent Meadows said they are planning a community event for the opening of the career and technical center, and they will be collaborating with Scotty B. Patrick, who donated $5 million to the project, making the construction possible. He said they will be inviting community members, local officials, people from Big Sandy Career and Technical Center and the Mayo Campus, some representatives from Logan Corp., etc., to come in and see what the facility looks like.

With days out of school, he said the central office has had time to look at grant opportunities, working on applying to two different literacy grants. If awarded, each elementary school would receive $40,000 to purchase instructional resources and training for early literacy. Another grant application they’re working on is a Steele-Reese Foundation Grant that also focuses on early literacy. With COVID and setbacks in education in general, he said they feel early literacy is an important focus for looking for potential grant opportunities.

Next week, Superintendent Meadows said there will be a lady here from KEDC on Tuesday, January 30, videoing snippets and interviews with students and teachers at the high school. He said they make and share promotional videos for school districts and the programs they offer.

Mr. Meadows also mentioned NTI days, noting that since he was asked in the dollar store parking lot recently, saying he would like to explain how they decide whether a snow day is an NTI day or not.

“I wish I had a scientific answer for that, but I shared with him and I wanted to share with those of you here and those watching, there are a few things we consider when we’re trying to determine whether it’s an NTI day. For one, I don’t feel like we need to do too many NTI days in a row, so I feel like three is a comfortable span, and that’s what we did last week. We had Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, we did three NTI days, and I felt by Friday, probably and kids, teachers and parents were getting frazzled by doing this instruction at home, so that is considered. I also don’t want to ever take away the joy of having a snow day because we were all students at one time and there is some joy in waking up and knowing it’s a traditional snow day, especially for kids, so I don’t want to ever take that away what it’s like to be a kid. And ultimately, Justin mentioned the date at the end of the year. You always have a target date you’re trying to reach at the end of the year and you know how many NTI days you have to work with and how many school closures you can do to reach that. So, all of those factors are considered, but to say there’s a checklist and an exact science, it’s not, but I hope it’s working out and, if it doesn’t, we’ll try something different next year.”

Back in the fall, the board agreed to purchase three school buses, a 34-passenger, a 52, and 72. and Superintendent Meadows said they had a working schedule on the budget, and gave the board updated spending options, noting it’s possible to purchase two additional buses if they choose, a 34 and 52, selected by the transportation director. All buses priced have air conditioning and cameras, just like the other buses purchased in the last two years. The board chose to table the choice until their February board meeting, with Mr. Meadows explaining if they ordered the two additional buses now they probably wouldn’t get them before September at the earliest. The buses ordered in October will be here by this summer, well in time for the upcoming new school year.

The Magoffin County Board of Education meets the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m., rotating the location of the meeting between the five schools in the district. The meeting held on Tuesday was rescheduled from last week due to the weather.

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