Boyle schools seeking KDE approval for walkway between middle and high schools

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Approve attendance waiver for elementary virtual education

The Boyle County Schools board of education unanimously approved plans and specifications for a new sidewalk project between the middle and high schools at a meeting on April 15, and now project plans are pending approval by the Kentucky Department of Education in order to go forward and in order for the district to advertise for bids.

The board also approved a Waiver of Pupil Attendance Regulation for Virtual Schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

Steve Karsner, the district’s chief academic officer, said the walkway will be between the high school and BCMS’s new performing arts center.

“This will allow high school students a safe, paved, well lit path to the performing arts center,” Karsner said.

The estimated cost of the walkway project will be approximately $250,000, Karsner said. The exact amount depends on bids, and there will also be an architect’s fee on top of expenses. This is a general fund project. There are alternates on the project, or things the district hopes will happen but could theoretically be cut depending on funding.

“The alternates are added to help us prioritize our needs on bid day,” Karsner said. “Two of the alternates are outdoor classroom areas that the high school or middle school could utilize on a given school day.”

Another alternate is a wheelchair-accessible loop around some steep hills on the walkway, which could also potentially be useful if rolling around large musical instruments or other equipment.

One hope with the project is to give a college campus-like atmosphere to the area between the schools, allow for a connection between the schools and add outdoor learning spaces.

In addition to approving plans, the board also unanimously approved the BG-3, or the statement of probable cost, for the project, as well as the authorization of bidding for the project, pending approval by KDE. The district does not yet know if the project will be approved or when bidding will begin.

Another key takeaway from the meeting was that the board unanimously approved a Waiver of Pupil Attendance Regulation for Virtual Schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

The board approved last month that middle and high schoolers be able to do virtual schooling for the year provided they have sufficient academic performance. The district has taken applications for that, and only about 30 middle and high school students have applied so far.

At the time that was approved for middle and high school students, there wasn’t a way to do virtual school for the 2021-2022 school year for students on an elementary school level until the waiver. The waiver requires that students report to and meet with teachers twice a day, about three hours apart, for daily attendance, and it will be teacher-led. Superintendent Mike LaFavers said he thinks district-wide the numbers of students who choose virtual school will be low, and he thinks mainly students with medical conditions will choose the option.

He said the district will go ahead and apply the waiver to grade levels kindergarten through 12th grade, that way if middle or high school students don’t fit the self-paced model, they can fit the wavier model and have daily attendance, meeting with teachers and doing a teacher-led structure for virtual schooling.

In other business, the board:

• Unanimously approved the consideration for a School Resource Officer Agreement for three officers for the 2021-2021 school year, in the amount of $100,000.

• Unanimously approved the consideration to purchase three International 72 passenger school buses, in the amount of $322,614.

• Unanimously approved a bid for $123,544, which was under the budgeted $150,000, to do re-sealing, re-paving and re-striping of blacktop projects at the Boyle County Main Campus, Junction City Elementary School and the Perryville Elementary School campus.