School superintendent William Sexton will remain in his position for at least four more years as the Clay County Board of Education members extended his contract recently.
Sexton became superintendent in 2015. The district had just been told by their auditors if major steps weren’t taken, they would be broke within two years and the state would take over the district.
Sexton put in place cost-cutting measures across the board that controlled spending, reduced payroll and led the district back to sound financial footing.
Some of those measures are:
-Credit Card rebate program that has paid the system back $27,000 over three years.
-Check processing software that has saved $12,000 annually over the last three years.
-A new copier machine contract that saved $45,000 in three years.
-Eliminated six positions at the Central Office.
-Over $400,000 in savings at the bus garage in four years on parts.
-Billed Medicaid for student services that generated $100,000 of revenue in four years.
-Restructured the process of purchases to cut excess spending.
That’s just a few of the things that’s led to the improved financial status of the district.
“The board supported me every step of the way in improving our financial status,” Sexton said. “I couldn’t have done it without their support.”
Not only has the financial picture vastly improved under his leadership, so has the academic standards. The district has been named ‘Proficient’—a long way from being cited as one of the 10 worst school districts in the state in 2012 by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The test scores are above state average in several categories such as elementary math, reading and middle school reading.
“Our middle school math scores have also made great strides and I feel you’ll see it at a proficient level in the near future,” the superintendent added.
82% of high school seniors are graduating and 68% of the student body at the school is taking Advanced Placement classes and earning college credit hours.
Board members feel the new contract was one well-deserved.
“I’ve been a board member a long-time,” said Leewood Cornett. “I’ve got to say I feel like Mr. Sexton is doing an outstanding job. We’ve had a lot of problems to overcome and he’s hit each one head-on. I’m very well-pleased with the job he’s doing.”
Robin Combs said she too is impressed with the job Sexton has been doing and felt a new contract was the right decision.
“With all the improvements we’ve made in the classroom, with our budget and the overall system, I felt extending his contract was the best thing we could do for our district,” she said. “Mr. Sexton is doing a wonderful job and is working each day to make our school system better.”
Several construction projects are now ongoing under Sexton’s watch with the biggest undertaking being the renovation of Manchester Elementary.
“Along with Manchester’s renovation we put in a new HVAC system at the high school with air condition for our gym,” he said. “We are also putting new roofs on Goose Rock Elementary and the middle school.”
One of the biggest things that impressed board vice-chairman Roy Glenn Allen was the way Sexton had his staff to ‘buy-in’ to his vision.
“For the first time since I’ve been on the board, I feel like our staff is working together in ways I’ve not seen before,” he said. “Mr. Sexton was able to bring our employees together to work towards a common goal of improving our student’s education.”
The school system is currently in the process or working with their teachers on revising student standards.
“Every teacher in the district is actively invested in understanding their content and teaching it to the highest level in the classroom to ensure improvement and student achievement,” Sexton said.
A few of the other things Sexton’s leadership has accomplished are; more school resource officers in the school system, an updated fleet of school buses, a new security vestibule for the high school, continuing ongoing partnerships with the Elgin Foundation, Save the Children, adding two district social workers, a dental screening program for students, school health with nurses at each school to just name a few.
Future plans the superintendent is working on is a new vocational school at Clay County High School to provide students with career opportunities in the work force.
The superintendent says he can’t thank the board and the entire pubic school staff for their hard work and commitment.
“I appreciate this new contract and the faith the board members have placed in me to do this job,” he said. “I can’t thank them and our staff enough for what they do. Our goal is to continue to provide the best education possible for our students and have them college and career ready upon graduation from high school.”