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Heads up: Board of Ed seeks modified bids for bus repair

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By Chris Hamilton

The head of the class at Monday’s Anderson County Board of Education regular monthly meeting was, well, an engine head.

The board discussed at length bids taken to replace an engine on a school bus that’s been out of commission for more than a week. Director of Transportation Jeff Young presented three bids for the work but only one included the cost of replacing the engine’s head.

“We’re not comparing apples to apples,” said Board Vice Chair Roger McDowell.

Board members James Sargent and Lee Hahn recommended spending additional dollars, estimated to be around $800, to replace the head but McDowell disagreed, saying it should only be done if it was discovered that the head actually needs replacing.

Young recommended replacing the head now and the board agreed to approve in advance the lowest bid after two of the bidders added the cost of replacing the head to their bids.

Bids had been received from Bluegrass International, UHL and Republic Diesel.

In other items on the agenda:

**Emma B. Ward Elementary School Principal Bobby Murphy presented a school improvement plan.

Some of the goals of the plan were to increase the average combined reading and math K-Prep scores from 51.7 in 2013 to 76.1 in 2017, ensuring the safety of all students and increasing the percentage of effective teachers and principals.

Murphy pointed out some opportunities for improvement, including a reduction of the number of Novice students and improving upon the rigor and relevance of instruction and activities.

**The Board approved renewal of a contract with Gallup for $5,959, which provides a screening service for certified teachers and administrators. The district has been using Gallup for at least 10 years.

**The Board approved renewal of a contract with Simplex for $17,048, which provides for fire alarm, sprinkler, backflow inspections and monitoring of all schools and the board office. Superintendent Sheila Mitchell pointed out that the contract was $400 less than their previous contract.

McDowell asked if other bids were accepted but Mitchell said this was the only company that would bid all the services together.

**The Board approved renewal of a contract for a school resource officer. The school district will pay half the cost of the position to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Lawrenceburg.

**The Board approved switching from Safety Alert to a STOP program offered through the Kentucky Center for School Safety. Mitchell said the district would save $1,700 because the STOP program is free. It will be implemented July 1.

**The Board heard the results of a safety report by Director of District-Wide Programs Ronnie Fields regarding a recent KEMI inspection. KEMI is the district’s insurance carrier.

**Mitchell recognized several students during the meeting, including Anderson County High School’s Annie Edwards, who won the 2014 Rotary Speech Contest and will be competing at the sectional for a potential $2,200 scholarship, Bradley Hardin, Brax Briscoe and Luke Knight, who placed at the state wrestling meet, the Emma B. Ward Academic Team for winning the Governor’s Cup regional and the Emma B. Ward archery team for qualifying for nationals.

**Mitchell recognized the Anderson County Teachers of the Year – kindergarten teacher Natalie Brown of Sparrow Early Childhood Center, music teacher Kyle Lee of Emma B. Ward Elementary School, first-grade teacher Tim Wells of Robert B. Turner Elementary School, fifth-grade teacher Sandra Barriger of Saffell Street Elementary School, art teacher Angela Champion of Anderson Middle School and chorus teacher Sue Lou Smith of Anderson County High School.

**Hahn was recognized for achieving Level 1 and Level 2 of Kentucky School Board Association Advancement within the KSBS Academy of Board Member Training and Sargent was recognized for achieving Level 2.

**The Board approved the use of Emergency Certified teachers and substitutes as needed.

**Anderson County Middle School Special Education teachers Scott Osborne and Travis York, both of whom are Anderson County Education Association leaders, asked meeting attendees to lobby their legislators to help promote teachers, school board members and superintendents working for the Kentucky Education Funding Restoration.

**The Board went into executive session to discuss litigation. There was no further business after returning to open session.