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Board discusses test scores; ballpark project

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Barlow-The much-awaited commencement of the ballpark restroom project is finally here.  This project, as well as test scores and other issues, were discussed at the recent Board of Education meeting.

In discussing facilities updates, Transportation/Facilities Director Kerry Fulcher informed the Board that work on the project that will bring new restrooms to the ballpark will begin shortly. 

 Fulcher will serve as the Project Manager, which will include serving as a liaison between the School Board and the Ballard County Fiscal Court.  The project is on school property, but the Fiscal Court must handle all monies since the project is being funded by a grant they have received. Demolition began last week, and the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month.

In other facilities projects, the greenhouse is about 45% to 50% complete. 

In other business requiring no board action, Superintendent Casey Allen explained the technicality affecting the recent tax hearing.  A required hearing must take place 7-10 days of its second advertisement.  This required hearing before the Sept. 9 board meeting fell two days past the state’s deadline.  Consequently, the school’s tax rates falls to 49.9 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The Board also discussed test scores at length.  Ballard County Elementary School has been classified as a “Needs Improvement” School because their overall accountability scored dropped 3.5 percentage points below the state’s average.  Principal Vicki Gough explained her strategy for raising scores; one strategy includes setting expectations over the summer.

Ballard County Middle School has been classified as Proficient.  Principal Kevin Estes also explained his strategy for achieving higher growth.

Ballard Memorial High School has been classified as a “Distinguished-Progressing” school.  Principal David Meinschein attributes this classification to the teachers and students. “My students work hard.   My teachers work hard,” he said.

According to Superintendent Casey Allen, the district is in the top 18% of 174 districts.

The Board also discussed District Delivery Targets in regard to the implementation of the Professional Growth & Effectiveness System (PGES).  Ballard County Middle School is piloting the program that evaluates teacher performance.

Director of Pupil Personnel Bob Wilson discussed the Growth Factor Report.  This report dictates funding from the state.  According to Wilson, student numbers are down 57 students with a decrease in all but one grade level.  “When you look at that, that’s close to probably about a quarter of a million dollars for the district,” Wilson said.  Wilson said he would like to run reports to see where students are going when they leave Ballard County Schools.

In business requiring Board action, the Board approved the purchase of a new bus. This came with the additional approval of using Capital Outlay to purchase it.  Capital Outlay funds are to be used with paying off debts and new construction. Using Capital Outlay allows flexibility in the use of school district capital funds without forfeiting the district’s eligibility to participate in the School Facility construction Fund.  Using the funds on transportation is permissible.


The Board also discussed and/or approved:

·      Discussed additions to the Open Meeting/Open Records Act.

·      Approval of Superintendent travel expenditures.

·      Approval of textbook reimbursement for a Ballard Student currently attending Gatton Academy.

·      Approval of spending $325 to fun a study to be done by the Council for Better Education.

·      Approval of using Castleberry, McGregor & Swinford (architect) and Martin Engineering for building assessment.

·      The Board selected Kent Gordon to be on the Local Planning Committee

·      Approval of Choir trip to Orlando, Florida.




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