Superintendent’s goal ‘Five Star’ rating for Fulton County Schools

by Barbara Atwill

Superintendent Aaron Collins reported on several personnel actions in conjunction with the end of the school year, when the Fulton County Board of Education met in regular session May 30, with all Board members, Rob Garrigan, Jacob Goodman, Kim Hagler, Barry Patrick, and Perry Turner present.

The Board accepted the resignations of Aimee Olive and Carla McClure, Pre-K teachers; and Amanda Major and Patricia Wimsatt, fifth/sixth grade teachers; Non-Renewal: Ashlee Babbs, FCMS cafeteria; Retirements: Pam Bennett, Library aide; and Ella Mae Smith, Pre-K Aide; Transfer of Brenna Ray to fifth and sixth grade science; and hired Monica Collins as fifth/sixth grade teacher, and Tracy Ellegood, Pre-K teacher.

Collins stated, “We appreciate and thank Carla McClure, who came back to assist for the remainder of the year. We would not have gotten through the year without her, and she did a fabulous job and we are very thankful for her doing that.”

“We appreciate the many, many years of service from Pam and Ella Mae to the students,” continued Collins.

During the Superintendent Report, Collins shared information about the Four Rivers Foundation, and what they have provided for Fulton County Schools.

“A Reading Program, funded by the Four Rivers Foundation, helps with the Response to Intervention (RTI) using Science Research Associates (SRA) material we already had in our building. We have been able to check the growth and believe we have had over 1.3 grade level improvements on average,” stated Collins.

“Four Rivers also assisted with Ed Ready at the high school, allowing students to take dual credit courses,” continued Collins.

“It is like the Compass test, but is not timed. The students work through math modules and have a score they have to reach. It is a good program,” Fulton County High School Principal Ellen Murphy said.

Murphy reported the Truth Score is an excellent test to prepare for the ACT.

“It is identical to the ACT, and gives lots of good data, breaks down the different content areas, what the kids score and where they need improvement,” she said.

“I would like to express appreciation to West Baptist Church for hosting our Honors Night, and Johnson Chapel Church and Dr. Turner hosting Baccalaureate. I’m grateful to the Fulton County Booster Club for all they have done. They hosted a wonderful Athletic event hosted at the Elementary/Middle School,” Collins said.

Upcoming events announced included a Professional Development (PD) program called Five Star Schools, given to Principals, Sondra Gibbs, Brian Hood, and Murphy. PaTrice Chambers and Tamra Parker will also participate.

As KDE (Kentucky Department of Education) is going to a ‘Five Star Rating’, Collins asked “what do we want our schools to be? Five Star School.” He reported classrooms will be required to be Five Stars, and the PD gives information to move forward as a Five Star School.

New partnerships recently created under New Skills for Youth Grant include Ingram Barge, Precision Machine, WKNT, David Taylor Automotive, Will Greer who continues to work with Fulton County Detention Center and the Sparks Program, Pierson Safety Services, Ken-Tenn Ambulance Service to assist with EMT classes, and continue to partner with WKCTC and MSU to expand the IT and Health Services program.

Collins provided a Legislative Update including local school board per diem has been adjusted from $75 to $150. He reported not all districts are taking the $150, some districts and boards are voting to continue with the $75, and the other $75 put back into the district.

House Bill 22, which change a local board vacancy from being appointed by the commissioner to being appointed by a majority vote of the local board; Senate Bill 1, “Safety bill”, for a school resource officer and a guidance counselor, which was added into the budget; doors and hardware have already been approved with a $2 million construction project started May 30.

Collins said, “Don’t forget about that by 2021, Fulton County will have to be a tobacco free school. We will have to start getting signage up and prepare everyone in the community. We have events where there is smoking and this will be a big change.”

House Bill 26 will increase from $20,000 to $30,000 the maximum amount of a contract for which a local public agency may use small purchase procedures, without taking out newspaper advertisements for bids. This is on the horizon, but not able to do yet.

Collins also reported House Bill 46 requires Public schools in Kentucky would have to display “In God We Trust” in a prominent location next school year.

Representatives Bob Miles, Energy Engineer and Anna Wooley, Customer Services, with Harshaw Trane in Louisville, attended the meeting to provide performance achieved with Fulton County Schools, and information about the agreement up for renewal.

Miles said, “Regarding the Performance Summary, Fulton County Schools have accomplished in 2017, Energy Star, is with refrigerators, microwaves, and appliances and also for buildings. The schools are compared with other facilities around the nation. If you get 75% or above, you qualify for Energy Star, which you have before. They have raised the bar, and reset some base lines, it is harder now. Everybody working together is awesome.”

“Fulton County Elementary/Middle School received a 77 and the High School an 80. Both schools have earned Energy Star,” continued Miles.

“Harshaw Trane will continue to monitor energy and calculations, building performance, remote support, critical alarm support. Changes will take place in the modified service with consultation from four times a year to two times. New service will include software maintenance, improvement and security updates,” concluded Miles.

In other action, the Board members approved:

• Field trip requests for FFA State Convention; FFA Camp; and Life Skills.

• Approved the 2019-2022 Technology Plan

• Approved the 2019-2020 Health Service Agreement with the Purchase District Health Department

• Approved a contract for the Principal for Four Rivers Career Academy, contracted for 228 days

• Approved Harshaw Trane Contract

• Approved Mountain Comprehensive Care contract

Jennifer Davis, Fulton County Schools Financial Advisor, reported “Total revenues year-to-date are $4,062,571.99, against a budget of $4,644,540.22. We have collected 87.47%. Last year at this time we collected $3,430,000, with a budget of $3,900,000, or 87.33%. We are right on target collecting what we budgeted. Total expenses year-to-date are $2,973,456.04 against a budget of $4,644,540.22. We have only spent 64.02% of the budget. Last year at the end of April we had spent $2,846,911.85 against a budget of $3,928,000, spending 72.46% of the budget, which means we are way ahead of the game on expenses on this year’s budget. I anticipate having a significant increase in our carry forward at the end of the year by not having spent percentage wise, that we have spent in the past.”

Davis added, “We discussed moving $100,000 from General Fund to the Track Fund out of this year’s budget, since we are doing so well. This does not require Board approval since the action was already voted on five years ago. I wanted to advise the Board of the action.”

Collins said, “Corey Smith won the Triple Jump at the State Track and Field Competition on May 30. I was looking back in the records and there is a guy named Corey Smith, from 1990 that still holds the state record. We had several podiums today including the 4x800, George Scott received 7th in the long jump and 13th in the high jump. There are a lot of private and independent schools in single “A”, but the last time I looked we were 17th out of 38 teams, and 2nd for county school districts. Unified track won and broke the state record and we have four or five teams and every team placed for unified track.”

The Board discussed the tentative budget for the 2019-2020 school year, with Davis reporting an anticipated carry-over of $800,000, with the move of the $100,000 for Track.” We did this budget anticipating taking no tax increase. We have the past two years and it’s time to give people a break. We don’t need to go nine years like we did in the past, that is where we got in trouble. A school Law Enforcement Officer, a Guidance Counselor for the Elementary/Middle School, a special education instructional assistant, principal to the Four Rivers Career Academy, mowing services, funding for the track with anticipating adding another $100,000 in August. Donations received of $57,000 have already been received for the track since the project was first started. There will be an increase in debt service because of bonding on the new project and a new bus. This will leave a contingency of $296,000 in the budget,” Davis said.

Discussion was held on Lawn Services with Superintendent Collins recommending a three year contract for $714 per mowing to Andy Blackwell of Cutting Edge Lawn Service.