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McCracken board OKs Reidland renovations

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

The McCracken County Board of Education has begun two long-term projects -  renovations of the old Reidland High School and the search for a new superintendent.

During a specially called meeting Monday, the board approved plans for work on the currently empty Reidland building from architects Peck Flannery Gream Warren. The group priced the project around $1 million, but architect Paul King said the estimate is fairly broad and could be decreased.

He said the cost accounts for three primary items that need replacement: restroom fixtures, windows and the heating and air conditioning window units. The price per restroom is $60,000, which includes plumbing fixtures, piping and finishing for the floors and walls, for a total of $240,000. The proposal also has $300,000 earmarked for HVAC replacement and $420,000 for window replacement.

Schools Superintendent Nancy Waldrop said the district pays about $150,000 yearly in heating and cooling costs for the building in part due to poor insulation on windows.

The renovation outline and the district's proposed payment method will be sent to the Kentucky Department of Education for approval. The board decided on a cash payment plan that will utilize funds from the capital outlay account rather than issuing a bond for the project. Due to $1.6 million of the $1.8 million in savings marked as restricted for primary needs, the board will have to file a petition with the Department of Education.

The board also voted to employ the Kentucky School Boards Association to conduct the superintendent search. That group will advertise the national search and vet the candidates before recommending a selection to the school board for in-person interviews. The board has access to all applications and can choose to interview and appoint any of the candidates, according to school board attorney Gorman Bradley.

He said the screening council will consist of two teachers, one member of the board of education, one principal, one parent and one classified employee. Each group will vote for its own representative, except the board member will be appointed by the superintendent. Because Waldrop gave more than six months' notice of her retirement prior to the position becoming vacant, the district has up to 90 days before June 30 to complete the committee. Bradley said he expects the screening panel to be formed much earlier than that date.

The board also voted to accept a financial offer of assistance from the Schools Facilities Construction Commission that will match $62,620 in district funds for technology supplies and programs.

Prior to the meeting, board members met with representatives from the McCracken County Education Association. The groups discussed the Raise Your Hand Campaign, which aims to spotlight the need to increase educational funding back to the 2008-2009 levels during the upcoming legislative session.

The two groups plan to meet prior to other monthly board meetings to enhance communication about the needs and concerns of teachers in the district.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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