August 5, 2008
Monticello Students Go Back to Class August 11
By Melodie Phelps, The Wayne County Outlook, Monticello, Ky.
Aug. 5--MONTICELLO -- There are only a few days of summer vacation left for MonticelloIndependent School students, as they head back to class on Monday, August
11. The final days of vacation have been filled with orientation sessions
for students, as well as opening day activities and professional development
"We had an exceptional year last year and we are expecting to have
another exceptional year this year," said Monticello Superinten-dent Donnie
Robison, as he talked recently about the 2008-2009 school year.
Like many superintendents across Kentucky, Robison knows that it could
be a challenging year, as districts everywhere continue to provide the same
level of service for less money. School districts are feeling the pinch of
a mandated one percent raise for teachers that was not funded by the state
legislature. Add to that the increased costs of running a district, like
soaring fuel and utility costs, and it means that everyone has to be
creative in these times.
Robison noted that Monticello School is in sound financial shape, and he
pledged that he and the school board will be looking at changes that can be
made to help cut expenses to help keep them in good financial shape.
"We are looking at ways to bring in more revenue without having to raise
taxes. The people in this community are having as hard a time with their
budget as we are, and we don't want to put any more burden on them," stated
Robison said he never thought he would see a time when there were no
increases in SEEK funds to school districts for two years in a row. And
nobody is sure where the price of diesel fuel will go this year, after
taking major jumps over the past school year.
Like other districts, Monticello has cut some positions this year,
including an administrative position, three certified positions and two
classified positions. Assistant Principal Gary Abbott retired after the last
school year, and the district did not replace him.
The district also lost an elementary teacher, a middle school social
studies teacher, and a high school special education teacher. Two aides
positions were eliminated also.
Monticello School continues its commitment to early childhood education,
providing full-day preschool and full-day kindergarten classes for its
youngest students. Much of that is provided without state funding, and the
local district shoulders the cost. Robison said that the district feels
these are important services to offer children.
"I am very pleased with our preschool teachers. They did an excellent
job last year," said Robison.
He noted that the full-day service is available for preschool students,
but parents can opt to send their children to class only half a day, as long
as they provide transportation.
There have been a few minor cosmetic changes made to Monticello School
over summer break. Three classrooms next to the gym have been remodeled.
They now have new lighting and dropped ceilings. One will be used as an
office for the counselor. One will be used as an art room and the other
will be used as a high school special education classroom.
New carpet was placed in the Media Center over the summer, Robison
Otherwise, everything is in good shape. The district moved into its new
building last year, and things worked well there, according to Robison. "It
was an excellent year last year...The building worked well for us."
Robison said that everything is set for work to begin on the first day
of classes. He noted that school begins on Monday this year, and many feel
that this is the best way to begin the yearÃ¢ÃÃ´with a full week of classes.
"I think we get a better start on a Monday," he explained. "We start on
Monday and we have a full week...Monday will be a full day for us, and we
are having class that first day."
The school day begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m., which is the
same as last year. This year's calendar is also similar to the past few
years, and includes a fall break in October, a break for Christmas, and
Spring Break. The last for students is set for May 21, according to the
Robison expects enrollment this year to be about the same as last year.
He said right now enrollment is up over where the district ended last year,
but it really takes until after Labor Day before officials get a real idea
about the numbers.
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Copyright (c) 2008, The Wayne County Outlook, Monticello, Ky.
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