School board establish working budget, discuss strengthening security

After rewarding their September “All In” students and staff, the Christian County School Board approved the 2023-24 working budget and construction budget adjustments for the consolidated Christian County High School, and discussed the implementation of career focused education and school safety at Thursday’s meeting.

District Director of Finance, Jessica Darnell says $5.5 million in revenue from last year’s budget is set to carry over to this year’s fiscal budget, however there may be less support from the Kentucky Department of Education as Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) allocations is set to decrease.  

For the 2023-24 expected expenditures, Darnell factored in wage raises, bonuses and raising the starting pay for new positions. The wage adjustments will be further discussed after the district budget goes through the Kentucky General Assembly.

Darnell also revised budget guide changes for the consolidated Christian County High School. According to Darnell their construction manager fee was increased and the guide included all the final bond costs which resulted in a $136,000 decrease in project costs.

Focusing on creating a more community involved education approach, Assistant Superintendent, Jessica Addison discussed phase three of the partnership between the district and Henry Ford Learning Institute to create a career academic model.

Addison says the Institute is consulting them on forming a more community and career focused academic structure, which she believes will better prepare students for the real word before they graduate.

Although the curriculum is set to focus on career paths, Addison advises it will not deter students from pursuing college education.

Phase three of the partnership will focus on establishing priorities of the curriculum, the formation of a three-year community-wide plan and strengthen the structures and systems needed to implement the agreed upon plan.

The Board unanimously approved moving to phase three which comes with a $125,600 project fee.

Concluding the meeting District Technology Director, Jason Wilson discussed putting out bids for the installation of weapon detection systems at Christian County and Hopkinsville Middle Schools.

Wilson says the weapon detection system would allow for students to keep their backpacks on and walk right through while the system takes a live image of them and locates any possible security threats.

The Board unanimously approved for bids for a new weapon detection systems to be advertised.