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New Board Member Sworn in at Ludlow Schools at Meeting Where Principals Point to Recent Successes

Ludlow High School principal Travis Caudill gave the Ludlow Board of Education a report on the state assessment, delivery targets and closing the achievement gaps for the middle and high schools. The scores for the district are solid, rising from 61st percentile to the 84th percentile, enough to give the district a strong proficient rating, whereas last year it was classified as "needs improvement".

However, the principals see opportunities for further growth.

The middle school, taken individually, went from "needs improvement" to "needs improvement/high progress", and the high school went down two percentage points, from 86 to 84, staying proficient. The elementary school rose from the 16th percentile to the 79th percentile in only five years.

"We need to improve our math in both the middle school and the high school," said Caudill. "Our writing scores surpassed all the schools in Northern Kentucky last year, and this year we came in second to Ft. Thomas. Our reading is good. I am concerned with our college and career readiness scores."

He went on to say that out of 76 seniors only 22 met all three benchmarks of the ACT test, which are reading, writing and math. 54 students are in a program called PLATO which directly addresses the students' progress in attaining the benchmarks. Most of them are only missing one, which Caudill says is usually math. He attributed the lack of strong math skills to the fact that the school had three to four sophomore math teachers in as many years, providing a weak link in the chain of building math knowledge.

Also, Jason Steffen, the elementary school principal, said that the students that scored in the 16th percentile five years ago have moved on up the line along with weaker math skills. Both principals went in on another remedial program called ALEKS, and purchased 100 licenses to split between the elementary and high school to deal with any problems the younger students have before they get to be seniors. Caudill said he was able to hire a terrific math teacher over the summer, so he feels that he is making progress in being able to give the students the strong chain of math teaching through middle and high school.

Many of the students are on the verge of proficiency, and the schools are working on boosting the students out of apprenticeship and into the profient status.

Rob Ford, from Barnes and Dennig, gave a report on the annual audit of the district, and pronounced it a clean audit, and the district in good shape. He brought up the new issue facing all school districts this year. The state teachers' retirement fund is grossly underfunded, and this year the individual school districts are being alotted a share of the deficit that they don't have to pay yet, but they have to list as a liability.

Ludlow's share has been decided to be $1.141 million, so that has been added to their liability column. Other than that, the carry over last year on the audit was $1.1 million, and this year it was $1.035 million, the deficit due to the various capital projects the district has been involved in. Everyone seemed pleased with the report, which was sent to the state last week. Superintendent Michael Borchers said that the district's general fund is at $115,354.56, a healthy $20,000 more than last year.

The board honored former board member Kym King, who had to submit her resignation in August because of her job, and the fact that her husband was hired at the district, causing a conflict of interest. She was presented with a clock and the best wishes of the other board members, Bill McMillen, Amy Hayden, Cindy Powell and Steve Chapman.

The Kentucky Commissioner of Education appointed Judy Lantry as the new board member and she then took the oath of office from Borchers before the meeting began.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Top photo: Board president Amy Hayden presents a clock to former board member Kym King for her service on the school board at the regular board meeting Thursday night.

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Ludlow School Superintendent Michael Borchers reads the oath of office to new board member Judy Lantry.