Spencer Co. superintendent hopes new workforce development funding will enable district to build area tech center; new elementary "really getting rolling"

Springfield Sun, July 27, 2016

TES could be converted into technology center

Spencer County Public Schools may be able to utilize state workforce development funding to create an area technology center in the building that now houses Taylorsville Elementary School, superintendent Chuck Adams told the school board Monday.

The center would provide additional education in areas like health sciences, manufacturing, construction trades, transportation, logistics and information technology.

Some Spencer County students presently utilize an area technology center in Shelbyville. Plans had originally called for converting the TES building into an early childhood center after the opening of a new elementary school.

“I don’t know about you all, but if somebody wants to offer me 2 or 3 million dollars, I’ll change my mind on what that TES building is going to be in the future,” Adams said.

He cautioned, however, that there’s no guarantee the district will get the grant or, even if it does, that the money will offset the district’s expenses enough to make creating the center feasible.

ACT scores down

For the first year since 2012, Spencer County High School juniors scored lower on the ACT last March than the previous junior class had scored the previous March.
The average 2016 composite score came in at 18.9, down six tenths of a point from 19.5 last year. The average score for SCHS was also six tenths of a point lower
than the state average.

“I am disappointed to tell you that we have regressed a little,” assistant superintendent Chuck Abell said.

In reading, the average score was 19.4, down from 19.9 last year. The average math score also fell, coming in at 18.2, behind last year’s 18.5. The biggest drop-offs were in science, where the average score was 19.0, down from 19.6 last year, and in English, where the average score dipped to 18.5 from 19.2.

“When this score came back, we were heartbroken,devastated,” said SCHS principal Curt Haun.

Average composite scores had risen from 16.6 in 2009 to 18.7 in 2011, then fallen to 17.8 in 2012, before rebounding to 19.2 in 2013 and holding steady at 19.2 again in 2014.

Despite the drop-off in scores, Haun said this year’s junior class put a great deal of effort into performing as well as possible on the test.

“Of all the groups that we’ve tested in the five years that I’ve been here, this group worked the hardest,” he said.

To get ACT scores back on an upward trajectory, Haun will require students to use an online ACT prep program at school during designated times each week. The board approved a $5,500 expenditure for the online program.

Progress at the new school site

Morel Construction Co. is making good progress on the construction of the new elementary school, said Kenny Stanfield, a representative of Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects, the fi rm overseeing the project.

“Morel is really getting rolling,” he said. “I mean, there’s a lot of working going on on the site.”

Drainage systems and utilities are being installed, and some footings have been completed.

“We’re very pleased with the contractor at this point,” Stanfi eld said, “because we’re getting a lot of – not just one thing going on, but multiple trades now. And so that’s what we need, because we’re in the good weather.”

Board member Lynn Shelburne said numerous residents in her district have expressed concern about the entrance to the school from Highway 44. Under the existing plan, cars and buses will access the school via Highview Drive, a relatively narrow, two-lane road that is already lined with homes and serves the Highview Estates subdivision.

But before work began at the site, that plan was approved by the state, Stanfield said.

“We don’t make that decision; you all don’t make that decision,” he said. “The Kentucky Department of Transportation made that decision.”

The Taylorsville City Commission and the Spencer County Fiscal Court have passed resolution surging the state to reconsider.

Adams said he has spoken with an engineer on the project, who told him it’s too late in the process now to change the design prior to opening of the school in August 2017. But Adams said he plans to meet Aug. 2 with state Rep. James Tipton and Sen. Jimmy Higdon to discuss options for constructing a better entrance at some point after the school opens.

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