Take Note

Take Note

Take Note

Kentucky School Advocate
June 2017 
Facilities project underway
A firm based in Massachusetts with a regional office in Louisville has been hired to play a key role in creating and transitioning Kentucky schools to a new Facilities Inventory & Classification System. Ameresco received the $1.484 million, two-year contract for the work via a request for proposals.

“KDE selected Ameresco based on the company’s experience of assessing buildings using industry standards and creating a maintainable assessment process,” Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said. Those two points are the objectives of the project, which succeeds an earlier building assessment program that covered just one-third of the state’s school facilities.

Pruitt said districts will be asked to select at least one school to be assessed this summer. Ameresco will train the districts and their architect partners to assess the physical condition of buildings. Assessment data will be captured using Ameresco’s AssetPlanner suite of modules, including the AuditPlanner mobile application.

KDE is planning regional one-day training sessions in late June, with dates to be announced, and is asking districts to send one or two facilities resources people to the nearest training site. District architects also may attend. The project budget is covering the cost of the sessions and software tool usage.

The 2016 General Assembly allocated $2 million in each of the next two fiscal years to create a new format for assessing the condition of school buildings, capable of more real-time flexibility. The new list is to be updated in odd-numbered years so the legislature would have information on school facility needs before its writes a new biennial state budget in even-numbered years.

The KDE contact for the project is Paige Patterson-Grant at (502) 564-5270, ext. 4402 or via e-mail at Paige.Patterson@education.ky.gov.

Unemployment program upgrade
The 170 school districts and three educational cooperatives that use KSBA’s Unemployment Program are benefiting from recent improvements in the service. The association’s technology manager, Matt Wells, re-engineered the process for receiving and processing the quarterly payroll data received from participants in the Unemployment Program to take advantage of new encrypted storage facilities and ISO 27001-compliant server environment that KSBA uses. Wells and KSBA controller Leah Herrera oversaw the development of new software used to test and transmit this payroll data to the state Department of Unemployment. The new system was tested by Herrera and Unemployment Program staff on historical data before being used for the first time during the first quarter of 2017.

Besides improving an already-secure system, the new software program “will noticeably improve the quality of the data delivered to the state unemployment department, which that agency uses to compute benefits,” said KSBA Chief Financial Officer Steve Smith.

KSBA’s Unemployment Program receives and stores payroll data every quarter for over 110,000 district employees, using datacenters that meet the highest security standards in the industry.
Students at Morton Middle School return a recycling bin to a classroom after emptying it into an outside receptacle. Singular school
Fayette County’s Morton Middle School was the only Kentucky school this year to win a Green Ribbon School Award from the U.S. Department of Education. Sixty-four schools, districts and postsecondary institutions were honored nationwide. The program recognizes schools for focusing their students on sustaining the environment, promoting health and wellness, and providing environmental education.

Morton Middle’s programs include a weekly recycling program and monthly energy audits to keep tabs on its energy costs; the efforts have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent and energy use by 49 percent over six years. Money from energy savings is put into a fund for new sustainability projects. The school participates in the Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools nine-goal program, and also has partnered with a local elementary school to mentor green schools efforts.
Students at Morton Middle School return a recycling bin to a classroom after
emptying it into an outside receptacle. (Photo courtesy of Morton Middle School) 

The school’s wellness activities include a spring World Fit Campaign built around student and staff walking, a Girls on the Run program, and clubs that teach various life skills. The school also plants two raised garden beds and has a chicken coop. With partner organizations, students have cultivated three trout farms.

Morton Middle will be honored along with other U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools at a Washington, D.C., ceremony in July.
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