Students in the West Point Independent school district will be heading to class as usual next month, West Point School Board officials announced Tuesday at a school board meeting.
“Business as usual. We’re going to be starting school on the 20th of August,” said Eddie Moore, West Point Independent Board chairman.
Earlier this month, Moore expressed concern the school district, which has one school that serves less than 200 preschoolers through eighth-graders, would close because of a lack of teachers. The school district needed to hire numerous teachers including a preschool teacher, first-grade teacher, fifth-grade teacher, middle school social studies, a special education and middle school science teacher.
With the exception of a special education teacher, Moore said the district now has enough teachers to begin the year.
The status of the district has been on the minds of several West Point residents after it was suggested the school may change in the future.
Wayne Lewis, state education commissioner, has expressed concern about West Point Independent’s ability to teach children and has suggested the district merge with Hardin County Schools.
In response, Moore has said he does not want the school district to merge. The river-side community is isolated from the rest of Hardin County by the Fort Knox military reservation and the school is an important component of the community.
To remedy a possible similar scenario in the future, Moore suggested the meeting attendees approach the city of West Point to look at improving the residential property in the town as a way to attract more residents.
“That’s how we stay open,” he said. “We got to have kids.”
According to the Kentucky Department of Education, the school district received about $1.2 million from the state during the 2017-18 school year, which made up about half of its funding. That included about $541,000 in SEEK money, which stands for Support Education Excellence in Kentucky and is money the state gives to school districts based on student attendance.
At the end of July, the school district will be subject to a management audit by the Kentucky Department of Education, which will include an investigation of the district’s compliance with state and federal statutes, administrative regulations and local board policies.
Using the findings of the audit, Lewis can recommend the state should assist or manage the school district, with the Kentucky Board of Education’s approval. If the state Board of Education approves the recommendation, Lewis or his designee will be able to exercise all administrative, operational, financial, personnel and instructional aspects of the management of the district formerly exercised by the school board and the superintendent.
Lewis previously said if the school district were to become state managed, he could negotiate with Hardin County Schools to create the merger.
After the meeting, West Point Superintendent Mickey Brangers said he was happy most of the vacant positions had been filled.
“I’m more excited today than I was previously,” he said.
West Point Independent’s next scheduled school board meeting is Aug. 20.