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Ludlow Wins Grant for Before & After School Programs, Plans Gym Expansion

The Ludlow school board voted unanimously Thursday night to authorize Superintendent Michael Borchers to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with Children, Inc to provide a full day of preschool/daycare for the children in Ludlow who qualify and who need a full day because their parents' work. 

The program will take place at the Children, Inc building on Highway Avenue in Botany Hills, the old St. Ann school, down the road from Ludlow. According to the agreement, parents can drop their child off as early as 7:30 a.m. and can pick them up at 6 p.m. A preschool teacher will be provided by Ludlow Independent Schools to instruct and guide the children for a half day and then the Children, Inc personnel will include the children in their normal preschool program for the rest of the day. 

The program will start in the fall, most likely the first of September, and the children who are in the program will be able to stay at the Children, Inc facility through the summer months as well.

"My recommendation is to approve the contract, and I feel it is very fair," said Borchers. "We can have children in a learning program from the time they are one year old till they walk into school. Having children in a learning program early means less catch up at ages 4 to 5."

Ten children are currently signed up for the program. Borchers said Children, Inc has already started renting the St Boniface/St James building in Ludlow, and hope to have it renovated by next April, so that the program can move to Ludlow and the children will be closer to home.

It was announced that Ludlow High School received a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant which will enable the school to start a program called SOAR focusing on grades 7, 8 and 9. The program is similar to the SHINE program for elementary students which partners with Children, Inc, and the SOAR program will partner with Navigo Prep to coordinate before and after school programs as well as summer programs. 

Activities will include homework help and tutoring, new clubs and enrichment, college and career experiences, and the creation of an Innovation Lab, or Maker Space. The Kenton County Public Library, NKU, Gateway, and the NKY Chamber of Commerce are some of the other partners for this new program.

The board agreed to authorize Borchers to submit a BG­1 plan to the state as a first step to adding a 1400 square foot addition to the gym. The proposed project will cost $177,000, and Borchers said that they will use General Fund money for it, but they hope to have some fundraisers to help defray the cost. Borchers said they could have it done by Christmas.

"We have $105,000 in health equipment and no place to put it," Borchers said. "Many districts have room and don't have the equipment, but we have to house the equipment."

Borchers gave the board an update on negotiations with the city to renew a contract for a School Resource Officer. He related that they are not close to an agreement right now, and at the June meeting Borchers will give the board options for SRO.

"Bottom line is that we will have a quality SRO by the time school starts," Borchers promised.

The board passed the salary schedule for classified and certified personnel, including the state mandated 2% raise. Then they passed the tentative $6.4 million budget for the 2015­-2016 school year, which includes the 2% increase, the additional fourth grade teacher, and the dual credit program for the high school. 

Borchers reported that the salary is 69.5% of the budget, and 75.1 percent of the budget with benefits, and their contingency fund is 7 1/2 percent.

Borchers also said the district is waiting to hear if the cafeteria, which is outside the general fund and termed fund 51, will receive a grant for $25,000 which will allow them to purchase a much needed new dishwasher, new oven and new cooking pot.

The board also approved a change in contract for mental health, going with MEBS and Associates instead of North Key.

Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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