School board approves trip to presidential inauguration

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By Jesse Osbourne

The Washington County school board approved a trip request that will allow 16 to 18 students to attend the presidential inauguration in Washington D.C. on Jan. 21.

Teachers Ryan and Andrea New requested permission from the board for the trip.
Superintendent Robin Cochran presented the information to board members during a work session on Friday afternoon at the Board of Education.
“This is something that’s not been asked before,” Cochran said. “This is something I don’t have anything to compare it to. I can’t even say it’s like when the eighth graders go to New York, because that’s a guided tour and they’re taking it through a tour company.”
Cochran said the group, which would include 16 to 18 high school students, the News and two additional chaperones, requested to drive a rental vehicle instead of taking a bus.
“That’s a little bit different, too,” she said. “But the other side of it is that it’s as relevant of a trip I think as we’ve taken in the school district.”
Board member Pat Clements asked if a bus was out of the question.
Cochran said the group had requested a rental vehicle due to where they would be parking, which is in a residential area, which wouldn’t be accommodating for a large bus.
Finance Officer Judy Spalding asked who would be paying for the trip.
Cochran said the students are paying and that discussion has taken place about the board paying for transportation.
Cochran also said that she had checked on student accident insurance, which will cover the students and staff members if something were to happen.
When the board exited the work session and entered into a special session, board member Curtis Hamilton made a motion to accept the trip request. Board member Nora Hatton seconded the motion.
- Also during the work session, principals at each school shared with board members how school employees were working with students to improve test scores for next year. Each principal presented a plan and action already taken to improve those scores.
- Chad Willis and Ray Kelty updated the board on the progress of the maintenance shop, which moved from the Board of Education building to a barn near Washington County High School.
Improvements were made on the building to renovate the space into a workshop and storage space for maintenance employees.
- Washington County High School Principal Paul Terrell discussed the athletics fee at the high school.
No decision was made on the issue, but Terrell said a decision would be made in the future by the high school site-base decision-making council.
- Board members discussed the possibility of requiring school employees to mow the grounds owned by the board instead of contracting out the labor.
Kelty told board members that mowing required a majority of the time of the employees that used to do that. By the time the grounds were mowed and the equipment maintained, it was time to mow again, he said.
Board members expressed an interest in continuing to contract out mowing.
Clements added that bids for mowing are more competitive every year, resulting in lower costs for the board.
- Cochran reiterated to those present to keep good financial records in regards to mileage, meal reimbursements, etc.
State Auditor Adam Edelen and his staff will be looking at the financial documents of school districts around the state, she said, and she wanted to make sure everything was being properly recorded.
- Cochran received support from school board members about looking into a doctorate program at Northern Kentucky University. Cochran expressed interest in attending an informational session on the program. The program is invitation-only, she said, and she was invited.
The board will meet in regular session at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17 at North Washington Elementary School.