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Training center stays put, will pay rent to Academy

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Board OKs $12K annual fee, didn’t collect it past

By Meaghan Downs

By Meaghan Downs
News staff
Thanks to a unanimous vote of school board, the Regional Training Center will remain at its current location on Main Street and pay a $12,000 annual rental contract to the building’s new owner, the Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg, which earlier this year bought it for $75,100. That means in six years and four months, RTC will have paid as much in rent as the Academy spent to purchase the building, if it rents for that length of time.
The Board of Education voted 5-0 to keep the RTC’s headquarters at the former Early Childhood Center, now the Christian Academy of Lawrenceburg, for the remainder of the ’12-13 school year instead of moving the training facility to Saffell Street Elementary as previously planned.
Regional Training Director Phyllis Hall presented a relocation cost of $24,000 needed to procure the necessary conference room and temperature-controlled storage space not available at Saffell Street. Not included in the estimate was a $7,000 quote for moving materials from the Christian Academy to the potential space at Saffell Street, Hall said.  
“You’ve done a lot of work, you’ve done what we’ve asked,” Board chairman Roger McDowell said to Hall, adding that the rental agreement between the RTC and the Christian Academy “looks to be fair” and the cost was an accurate assessment.  
Board member James Sargent voiced concern over allowing taxpayer money to be given to a private school like the Christian Academy through a rental agreement, rather than keeping funds within the public school system.
“I can’t see taking away money from my school and give it to a private school,” Sargent, who said he “had nothing against” the academy.
McDowell recommended the board vote to allow the training center to stay at the Christian Academy, but to revisit RTC relocation after the end of the school year and to make plans for a possible move by the next fiscal year, July 1, 2013.  
“I know it’s inconvenient, but I think it’s something we need to do,” McDowell said.

Other business
The board approved $7,880 in Anderson County High School Advanced Placement fees for high school students. Each test will cost the board $16 per student, with the student responsible for $65 per AP exam.
Surplus property from the former Early Childhood Center will be auctioned off within the next 14-21 days.
McDowell asked that three surplus vehicles — a 1992 F-150 pick-up, 1995 Grand Marquis and a 1998 Astro Van — be included with other auction items and that the auction be advertised.
“We’ve been criticized in the past for not advertising our sales,” McDowell said, asking that the district go “above and beyond” in advertising the auction.

Superintendent’s report
High school student Lauren Lawless received a commendation from the National Merit Scholar program for her performance in the academic contest, scoring in the top 5 percent.
Lyndi Walker recently graduated from the “Drive to Stay Alive Academy” held at the Kentucky State Police headquarters in Frankfort.
Archery teams in the district recently competed in the world tournament in Florida, with the elementary and middle school team placing 14th, the middle school team placing third and receiving the “Spirit Award,” and the high school team placing sixth. High school student Cameron Paden placed first in individual high school competition.
The high school girls’ soccer team and the Mercer County High School girls’ soccer team recently raised $212.97 for the VFW for unmet service needs.

What is the Regional Training Center?
The Regional Training Center began in 1988 in Anderson County, and has been at its location at the former Early Childhood Center on Main Street since 1996.
The RTC serves more than 44 school districts and provides free professional development training, resources and technical assistance. It also offers a free resource library stocked with assessment tools, learning kits and other materials to regional faculty and staff.
The RTC is currently evaluating public preschool programs to be in compliance with state regulations.  
Funding: Regional Training Center Director Phyllis Hall said the RTC is funded primarily through grants through the Kentucky Department of Education
The Board of Education is the fiscal agent for the RTC in that the school district approves of any purchase more than $5,000, but does not designate or contribute district funds for the training center. According to Mitchell and Hall, the RTC does not provide revenue for the Anderson County school district.
According to Superintendent Sheila Mitchell, no rental agreement has ever been established between the Board of Education and the RTC for use of the former Early Childhood Center.
The RTC chose to transfer $10,000 to the Board of Education general fund for fiscal year 2011-2012 because of additional money that the center received, Mitchell said, but the training center has not indicated whether it will be donating the same amount for ’12-13.
‘There’s no contract available in files that I have found at this point to show any agreement that was made over the last 25 years,’ Mitchell said.
Hall said she is unaware if any of the other regional training centers in Kentucky pay rent to school districts for the use of their facilities.
‘I’m almost positive there’s never been a contract,’ Hall said of other regional training centers.