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With tables spread throughout the front of the room, the Knox County Board of Education conducted their monthly meeting on May 18 in front of staff with the meeting broadcast live online.

The majority of the meeting was approving items for the year ahead, but Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles reported to the Board that when that year will begin remains uncertain.

Sprinkles reported that the Kentucky Department of Education has advised school districts to look at a late July opening day in case of a fall spike of COVID-19, a regular start date either in person, through non-traditional instruction, or a blend of both, or a late August or early September start date.  The Board approved a calendar with the start date for students being August 6 during their March meeting.  As Sprinkles reminded the Board of that decision, he also said that it was tentative based on further state and local guidance.

The Board renewed contracts with the Kentucky Education Development Corporation for technology services, maintenance and installation; with Infinite Campus for the student information system; and Nationwide Life Insurance for student accident insurance.

"The premiums have went up," Sprinkles told the Board.  Working with Roberts Insurance to secure the quote, the Nationwide Insurance plan is scheduled benefit at $60,415.00.

Finance Officer Gertrude Smith presented the Board with the tentative budget for the upcoming year.  "The revenue and expenditure amount changes daily and the actual number for the end of this year will not be finalized until July when all revenues and expenditures are accounted for," Smith said. 

"We continually review and monitor grant budgets for any allowable expenses that can be paid from those grants rather than General Fund, although, this year there have not been very many expenditures due to grant restrictions, funding reductions, and increases in other required expenditures in the grants."

With a beginning balance decrease of an estimated $500,000, Smith said that the budget maintained a two percent contingency based on decreases from other operating expenses based on historical year to date expenditures.

The upcoming budget contains no raises for Knox County staff, with the only change to the salary schedule being for Save the Children which increased the rate for community liaison and tutor positions as part of the grant funding.

District facilities were also mentioned several times throughout the meeting.  Sprinkles presented the Board with a report on current projects, noting that COVID-19 has delayed much action.  "Everyone has been closed and working from home," Sprinkles shared as he mentioned materials for Lynn Camp's greenhouse had been delayed.

The Board approved final plans for HVAC unit replacement at Lynn Camp Middle/High which includes the auditorium, library, and office areas. Once approved by the Department of Education, the district can proceed to replace the unit.

The waste water treatment plant at Girdler was another area of concern, prompting the Board to call a meeting of the Local Planning Committee together to discuss findings about the system.  Sprinkles aid when the LPC last met, the age and condition of the plant at Girdler were not seen as a need and now it is.

In other business the Board approved agreements with KDE for two Knox County employees that are working for the department on loan from the district, an agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice for the Day Treatment Program, and an agreement with CASA of Knox and Laurel Counties to serve as youth advocates.

The next meeting of the Knox County Board of Education is set for Monday, June 15, at 6:45 pm.

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