School board hears request to make all schools tobacco free campuses

Posted November 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Clinton County Board of Education heard a proposal from the Lake Cumberland District Health Department pertaining to tobacco free schools and reviewed their 2013-14 audit report, among other items of business Monday night, November 17.

The meeting, which lasted approximately an hour, was in lieu of the board’s regular meeting which had been postponed earlier in the month. Five of six members were present.

The board first recognized Donna Butler, who was unable to attend the meeting, upon her retirement as Guidance Counselor at Clinton County High School.

Ashley Bridgeman, representing the Lake Cumberland District Health Department, as well as the director of LCDHD addressed the court with written information and verbal presentation requesting the board consider making all schools in the district “tobacco free,” citing primarily the health benefits to students and adults.

Bridgeman reviewed some survey results from among students who were, at the time, sophomores, about their use of tobacco products, noting a higher percent than average had used smokeless forms of tobacco within 30 days prior to when the survey was conducted a couple of years ago.

Bridgeman said students usually look up to adults as role models and noted the request would entail that all schools would be off limits to tobacco use by students, staff and visitors on any school property, including vehicles and extra curricular activities including sporting events.

The push to make more complete cities and communities either smoke and/or tobacco free is on the rise in Kentucky, including at the state government level. The health officials offered information from the governor’s office noting Gov. Steve Beshear’s goal was to cut the smoking rate in Kentucky by 10 percent and using tobacco free campuses was a major part in meeting that goal.

They also mentioned a few other surrounding school districts that have already implemented or voted to begin implementation of a tobacco free schools policy, including Casey County, Russell County, Adair County and Somerset Independent Schools.

Some questions pertaining to such a move included how difficult it was for other districts to implement the new rule and CCHS Principal Sheldon Harlan also questioned the enforcement aspect, especially when it pertained to school staff who smoke.

The use of SROs (School Resource Officers) at schools and sporting events was mentioned as one area of enforcement, as well as announcing the implementation process months ahead to make everyone aware that the district was considering making the schools tobacco free–including school staff.

The health department officials also noted they planned to do a survey on the matter among students, school staff and the community and expressed willingness to work within the schools to implement smoking cessation programs in-house if the district did eventually opt to become tobacco free.

Following the discussion, the board basically took the proposal under advisement with no official action being taken at this time.

The school board recognized Donna Butler, who was unable to attend the meeting, upon her retirement as Guidance Counselor at Clinton County High School.

Paige Squires, with Ross and Company, an accounting firm out of Louisville with offices based in Greensburg, then reviewed with the board the 2013-14 audit findings.

Very few minor comments were listed on the audit, including one prior year notation and some smaller items such as school accounts having the same federal ID number as the school district and individual record-keeping procedures that can easily be addressed at the local level. Otherwise, the district received a clean and favorable audit report.

After approving minutes from previous meetings, the board approved between meeting disbursements, voted to pay claims and bills and approved the following leave of absences: leave without pay to Ruth Buster through January 4; leave without pay to Michael Thompson through November 14; and a medical leave for Deloris Marcum through December 2.

Under personnel report, the following was announced:

— Substitute teachers: Debbie Lowhorn, CCMS; Terri Gray, Courtney Craig and Kim Wilson, district-wide.

— Certified retired: Donna Butler, Guidance Counselor, CCHS.

— Certified resignation/hired: Tammy Denney, teacher at CCHS to Guidance Counselor at CCHS.

— Classified resignations: Faye Starns, aide, Early Childhood Center and David Braswell, bus driver.

— Classified hired: Judy Nelson, cook, CCMS.

The board then approved the standard nonresident pupil contract with Wayne County schools for the years ending 2016, 17 and 18 and approved two overnight trips, one for the CCHS boys’ basketball team to Mount Sterling December 26-29 and another for the girls’ team to Louisville December 18-20.

Director of Pupil Personnel Julie York then gave the attendance report for the third month of school, which ran from September 27 through October 31. During that period, attendance was down by about six-tenths of a percent, to 93.94 compared to 94.52 the same month a year ago.

The school with both the highest ADA (Average Daily Attendance) and most improved attendance was Albany Elementary, standing at 95.27 for the month.

Superintendent Charlotte Bernard then gave the monthly superintendent’s report, noting several things going on, including the upcoming KIP survey pertaining to student use of drugs and tobacco products; K-PREP intervention and school improvement plans being formulated among others, and she also said she had received several favorable comments about the Veterans Day program hosted recently at Clinton County High School.

Albany Elementary School Principal Tim Armstrong then told the board about the ice cream machine that is now at the school. Students can buy ice cream cones for $1 during break periods and there will also be coupons available to some students who cannot afford it. Also, it has been used as an incentive for students “who do good things,” the principal noted. Thus far, they have sold or given as incentives, between 300 and 400 ice cream cones per day.

The next regular meeting of the Clinton County Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, December 8 at 5 p.m. at the Central Office board room and is open to the general public.