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Ludlow School Board to Change Cafeteria Set-Up, Rejects New Gym Proposals

Ludlow Superintendent Mike Borchers is pleased with the technological updates made in both the elementary and high schools.

"The hardware and infrastructure has been updated throughout the district," Borchers told the Board of Education at its regular meeting Thursday night. "I have no worries now with our system."

Borchers addressed the issue which received a borderline approval in the TELL survey in this district, conducted in the spring. The Kentucky Department of Education describes such surveys as, "...designed to gather a variety of information from teachers, counselors, principals and other administrators who know best the working conditions in our schools. The survey includes questions on the adequacy of facilities and resources; time; empowerment; school leadership; community support; student conduct; professional development; mentoring and induction services; and student learning. The web-based survey is voluntary, anonymous and confidential."

Before the upgrades, there was a router in the district that was 13 years old, Borchers said. He said once he was made aware of the dire situation concerning the computers and infrastructure, he made sure that the board was aware and they set about fixing the problem.

The working budget of $8,569,068 was approved by the board for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. The district's contingency fund is at 4.9 percent. The 2015­-2016 indirect costs that were approved by the board are set at 14.09 percent.

The cafeteria bought new equipment over the summer which is working well for the students. Since the cafeteria department has more than the recommended 2 percent in reserves, it was recommended that they spend it on upgrades, so over the Christmas break there will be a new floor installed in the kitchen, and new tables in the cafeteria that will have the seats attached. Borchers said this will help with the cleaning of the floors, also. He explained that the initial idea of cold lines and hot lines in the cafeteria which was meant to give the students a choice of food is being revamped because most of the students were choosing the hot line because they wanted the
side dishes that were included.

Now the thought is to have the same sides for everyone, but the students can choose a cold entree, such as a sub sandwich, or a hot entree, which could be something like chicken nuggets. In addition to the regular sides, bags of fresh cut vegetables and fruit, now bought locally, are available to the students. Changes have also been made in the teachers lounge where there is now a salad and soup bar.

The board approved the request for capital funds in the amount of $30,888. Borchers explained that once the money available from the state is over $30,000 the district can request that money, but if they don't it is kept in escrow at the state level until the district has a building project.

Three bids were received for the gym expansion project, but all three were well above the amount the district wants to spend, so the board officially rejected them. The bids were $549,900 from Century Construction, $569,000 from Leo J. Brielmaier, and $586,000 from Millay and Company. Borchers said the district wanted to spend around $200,000, so with help from Ehmet Hayes they will redo the plan and come back in October with the new plan.

Total enrollment in the district was announced to be 852, up 26 students in the last three years and up 10 students from last year. Attendance is said to be very strong.

Testing of the current kindergarteners before they started school showed a 50 percent kindergarten readiness. Official results should be ready next month.

Parent University will be held next week on September 24 where parents will be able to walk through their student's schedule and find out what they are learning.

On October 16, Duke energy will come to Ludlow park to do a service project which will include new playground equipment, a mural, lights, fixing a leaning telephone pole, and running electricity. Volunteers from Duke will be joined by juniors and seniors from the high school. Rain date for the project will be October 23.

Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor