Overcrowding continues at TCES

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Superintendent requests more time to consider options.

By Leslie Moore

Classrooms at Taylor County Elementary School will likely remain over capacity for at least another month.

Superintendent Roger Cook told Taylor County School Board members at their meeting last Tuesday that he needs more time to determine the best option to remedy TCES' overcrowding situation.

Cook said letting the classes remain as they are wouldn't be good for teachers or students and could impact test scores.

Right now, Cook said buying two mobile units for about $74,000 seems to be the best option to remedy the situation because each unit could house two classrooms. He said they would be placed against the overhang in front of the school.

However, Cook said he has already received calls from community members expressing their disapproval of the idea.

TCES Principal Donna Williams said she has concerns about the safety of mobile units.

"I don't know what the best solution is," Williams said.

She suggested moving the library to one of the units and putting two classrooms where the library is now. Williams told Cook the library space can only reasonably accommodate two classrooms, not four.

The units will not be equipped with bathrooms because Cook said the cost would be too expensive. He also said bus routes would have to be modified.

Cook also discussed sending more than 100 students who live outside the district back to their home districts.

"I can't even bring myself to think about telling a kid you can't be in this school system when they've been here this long," Cook said. "That's not fair. I don't even see that as an option."

The option of renting a building, which Cook said earlier this month, was not discussed.

Cook said he will give a recommendation to the Board at its next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 10.

Also at the Meeting:

• Board members approved an application with the Kentucky Department of Education for the District to have access to $239,500 in its capital outlay fund. In the past, Cook said this fund was strictly for building projects, but the state now allows districts to use it for other purposes because of funding cuts. Cook said the funds are a back up and won't be used unless they have to.

• Board Chairman Tony Davis was appointed to serve on a local planning committee charged with reviewing the district facility plan and recommending if the plan should be modified or left as is.

The committee also requires two members from the community to serve, but Cook said there was no response to an advertisement for candidates and everyone he asked has declined. He said he will continue the search and would update the Board at its next meeting.

• The Board approved a funding request of $22,000 for the Taylor County High School Band.

• The TCHS cheerleading team was given approval to travel out of state for a cheerleading competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C., next month. Cook said the cheerleaders are doing their own fundraiser to pay for the trip.

• The Board approved a student teacher agreement with Campbellsville University.

Personnel Report

• Retirements - Jessica Eastridge, TCHS science teacher.

• Resignations - Jeff Kidder, TCHS charter education and head boys basketball coach; Jessica Merritt, TCHS instructional assistant; Charles Shepherd, TCMS girls basketball assistant; Faith Womack, TCMS Language Arts/Social Studies teacher and TCMS girls basketball coach; and Casey Young, TCHS golf coach.

• New Hires - Jamie Corbin, TCES fourth-grade teacher; Kelley Covert, TCES kindergarten/first-grade teacher; Andrea Gribbins, TCMS English/Language Arts; Mary Hurt-Johnson, TCES first-grade teacher; Bonnie Webster, TCES preschool teacher; Natasha Wyrick, TCMS math teacher; Steven Benningfield, bus driver substitute; Dawn Cox, food service substitute; Jenny Etherington, kindergarten/first-grade instructional assistant; Allison Garrett, TCHS cook/baker; Shannon Gootee, occupational therapist; Joshua McMahan, TCES ECE paraeducator; Delilah Morrison, food service substitute; John Pierce, TCES custodian; Timmy Willis, TCMS food service custodian; Spencer Adams, head wrestling coach; Candace Gilpin and Amanda Gowin, TCHS dance team coaches; Dustin Graves, Clay Hooper and Jared Vaughn, assistant TCHS football coaches; Crystal Green, assistant TCHS cheerleading coach; Seth Lucas, assistant TCHS wrestling coach; and Matt Simpson, assistant TCHS boys soccer coach.

• Transfers - Jeanie Matney, from TCES ECE teacher to TCMS ECE teacher.

• Reassignments - Rosemary Begley from TCES ECE paraeducator to TCES custodian; and Rachel Cotton, from TCES ECE teacher to TCES third-grade teacher.