A Lexington man died tragically in a scooter accident that occurred in Wayne County on Thanksgiving day.
According to Assistant Coroner Anthony Vaughn, Charles Franklin Barber, 51, was pronounced dead at Wayne County Hospital on Thursday, November 22. Vaughn said that Barber died from head trauma.
Barber was driving a scooter on Crabtree Hollow Road, when it hit a tree and went over an embankment, according to Wayne County Deputy Danny Guffey. The accident occurred at about 1:53 p.m.
Barber was visiting family in Wayne County on Thanksgiving when the tragedy occurred.
Guffey was assisted at the scene by Deputy Brian Worley, Deputy Cody Neal and the Wayne County EMS.
The Monticello Independent School District has been designated as a “state assisted” district, following a management audit of the district which was conducted by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) recently. Board members accepted this “state assisted” designation during a special called meeting on Tuesday, November 27.
The management audit has concluded and the findings have been compiled into a final report. According to the findings outlined in that report, there is a pattern of a significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness in the governance and administration of the school district, primarily in the areas of governance, finance and personnel, according to a letter from Terry Holliday, education commissioner, addressed to Board Chair Jerry Lair and Superintendent Gary Abbott.
Holliday noted that the district leadership is supportive of improvement and wants to adequately address the concerns found in the report, but feels it needs some outside help to do so effectively.
As a result, Holliday recommended to the Kentucky Board of Education that Monticello Independent School District be designated as a “state assisted” district.
During the meeting, board members were informed that they had the right to request a public hearing before the KDE before a final designation of “state assisted” was adopted, and that they could waive the right to a public hearing.
The board voted to waive the right to a public hearing and accepted the KDE’s recommendation to become a “state assisted” district.
A designation of “state assisted” means that KDE will help the local district develop and implement a plan to correct the identified deficiencies. In addition, KDE will also monitor compliance with the plan.
Kay Kennedy, a member of the KDE management team, stated that she wanted the board members to understand that they were about to undertake a lot of hard work. She added that there were some serious issues they would have to be addressed that will cause a lot of change in the school district.
Kennedy then discussed the corrective action plan that will be implemented, stating that “it will be an action plan. There will be action taken to get all management components in the management audit back on track.”
“The Kentucky Board of Education will be with you every step of the way,” stated Kennedy. “If the plan is not being adequately developed or implemented, the state education commissioner will move forward with the recommendation to be ‘state managed’ which is completely different than being “state assisted.”
Kennedy informed board members that they have a critical role not only in developing and implementing the corrective action plan, but to make sure that the right people are in place to get the Monticello School District moving forward. She noted that their critical job at this time is to fill the superintendent position.
She also told board members it would probably take more than one meeting a month for the board to take care of the business they needed to address.
She encouraged them to utilize the Kentucky School Board Association’s Superintendent Search Service as they look for a new superintendent. In addition, Kennedy recommended that board members conduct in-depth reviews of the financial statements.
Kennedy also encouraged board members to take additional training offered by the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA).
Several faculty and staff members were present at the meeting and presented their questions and concerns to the board members and members of the audit team.
One question presented to Kennedy was whether or not personnel cuts would be a part of the corrective action plan for the school district. Kennedy responded that there would have to be some cuts made to balance this year’s budget. She also noted that over-staffing is a real concern that the state has with the Monticello Independent School District.
Kennedy noted that they would be looking into mid-year staff reductions, and pointed out that this can only occur with classified staff. She explained that by law, certified staff members have to be notified of a change in their employment in the spring.
She stated that making reductions in the staff is something they would need to look at in order to keep the school district afloat, alive and viable.
Kennedy also noted that there is a spending and hiring freeze in effect in the school district now, and all spending will have to be approved by a monitor on site.
She pointed out that the position for an interim chief finance officer has been posted on the website and that they will be looking for a permanent chief finance officer for the district as well.
One individual asked a question concerning the annual audits that have been conducted of the school district. The audits have been clean audits and reported no major problems. Board chairman Jerry Lair noted that the audits from the past were cleared by checks and balances that were in place. He stated that the checks and balances did nothing to catch what was going on with the current situation.
Faculty members highlighted some of the positive aspects of the school district, including several student and graduate success stories.
One teacher referred to the current situation at Monticello Independent as “a rebuilding process” and added, “We are not in a hopeless situation.”
They then asked for advice on things the staff at Monticello can do to cut back on waste and inefficiency. At one point during the meeting, Kennedy informed those present that she had been to school districts before where the situation was similar and that at Monticello it was dire. She said those school districts did turn around, but it does take work and it is not easy.