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Newport Schools: Property Sales Revenue Placed in Account; New Emphasis on STEM

The Newport Board of Education has determined where it will place its revenue from recent property sales.

Newport Independent Schools chief financial officer Tete Turner reported to the board this week that he started a general fund investment account with the proceeds from the sale of the former intermediate school building, the former post officer building at 8th & Washington Streets, and property acquired for the expansion of KY Route 9.

The total amount is over $2 million and will be added to the $1.55 million earned from the sale of the former Mildred Dean Elementary property, once the annual audit is completed. 

The account will be "very restricted" and has a 0.92 percent interest rate.

Vice Chair Julie Smith-Morrow last month had requested more specifics related to the banking plans for the revenue from these sales.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Kelly Middleton accepted an award this week from the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education. Newport High School was one of six high schools in the state to receive the gold award.  

To achieve the award, the high school had to be one of the top 40 schools in Kentucky in the completion percentage and preparatory percentage, and had to have 55 percent of graduates rated as career-ready. 80 percent of graduates had to be enrolled in career and technical education programs.

Assistant Superintendent Amy Gilkison gave an update on Project Lead the Way, which prepares students for a line of studies, one of which is Biomedics. This prepares the students for any career that is in the medical field, and it was successful enough last year that the district will be adding Biomedics 2 this year.

She also told the board that there will be more programs in the STEM field, since there weren't any. There will be more clubs dedicated to STEM activities, in an effort to move the district forward. Gilkison said that  there will be maker-spaces in every building, and they will be different in every building, with activities like green screens, 3D printers, robotics, and Lego tables. The board was impressed with the improvements.

Kevin McCormick, director of student services, said that the attendance goal for the upcoming school year is 95 percent. He also said that the district would lose state funding for having a drop in enrollment of roughly 60 students, but that that number was less than the previously anticipated 100 students.

Gilkison announced that there will be two poverty simulations for teachers on August 14, before school starts. These allow the teachers to put themselves in the shoes of families that have trouble making ends meet each month.


The district also honored Diane Hatfield and Janet Jackson, who retired with 36 and 33 years experience.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photos: Diane Hatfield and Janet Jackson celebrate their retirement from the district (RCN)