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Newport to Accept Bids for Purchase of School Building, Board Hears Reading of Smoking Ban

The Newport School Board went into executive session after their regular meeting last night to decide what to do about selling the property at 101 East Fourth street which is home to the intermediate school, housing grades 3, 4 and 5. The board announced that bids would be accepted for the property and then sent to board attorney Brandon Voelker, to be opened on April 15.
The board will then decide if they like any of those bids, or if they will reject them and extend the deadline for bids. There is no particular set price for the property, but Superintendent Kelly Middleton has his own expectations.
"I would like to get at least $2 million for the property," he stated. "This is two years out though. Our students will be in this building for this school year and all of next school year. If the property is sold, the buyer will take possession in September of 2016. The high school will accommodate grades 7 through 12, and the middle school will have grades three through six."
The board also considered and okayed the first reading of the smoking ban, which had been put off since earlier in the month to clarify whether the ban should include e-cigarettes. It does include all tobacco products as well as the e-cigarettes, and three policies specify that there will be no smoking on any school campus, including parking lots and cars, and the bus garage.
The policies also prohibit smoking by any groups who rent or meet on any of the school properties. The second reading of the three policies will be next month, and if passed, which is expected, will go into effect on July first.
"I do expect that it will pass," said Middleton. "I haven't had anyone say anything against passing it, and in fact, I have had a couple of comments in favor of it."
Once it is passed, Newport school district will be the 38th school district out of Kentucky's 173 districts to become smoke free, joining Beechwood and Dayton Independent schools locally.
January is School Board Recognition Month, and the five members of the school board took the time to visit the schools to see their work in action. All five reported being
impressed with the students and the teaching going on when they visited. As a result, principals of the schools, or in the case of the high school, the assistant principal, presented the members of the school board with tokens of appreciation.
Two members of the High School Boosters Association, Tom and Lori Murray, came to the Board meeting to present the board with a check for $7,500 to help build a new electronic marquee to replace the old one in front of the high school. The boosters helped to fund the old marquee and they were happy to show the design for the new one to the board members.
A time capsule was dug up under the old one, but it mostly contained the names of people who contributed to the building of the marquee, according to Middleton.
"We are not just for sports," said Tom Murray. "We are approachable. Ninety­-nine percent of our organization are alumni."
Story & photos by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
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