In three to four weeks, students, staff, parents and community members will have the ability to leave anonymous tips for Whitley County School District officials via e-mail.
During its monthly meeting Thursday, the Whitley County Board of Education approved an agreement with the Kentucky Center for School Safety, which gives the school district access to the “Safety Tipline Online Prevention/STOP Tipline” program.
“It is designed as an online reporting and prevention tool. It is for students, parents, and community members. Any time they see something that is unsafe in a school setting or on school property – whether it be a bullying situation, a safety situation, drugs or any thing like that – they can go to our webpage, hit the STOP/Tipline link and send an e-mail tip out. It can be anonymous or they can leave their name and phone number,” said Safe Schools Director
Bowlin said that the free service will be available 24-7.
Bowlin said the school district doesn’t want to replace face-to-face conversations with people, but he noted that students are more comfortable using text or e-mail.
The tips will go to three members of the central office staff, who can then be forward the messages to other proper authorities, such as principals, school resource officers and so forth.
“It is very simple. It is user friendly,” Bowlin added.
Board Chair Larry Lambin noted the service is kind of like an in-house 911 system.
In addition, the board approved the 2017-2018 audit report and the 2017-2018 audited financial report and balance sheet Thursday after hearing a presentation from Nancy Logan, who is with Marr, Miller & Myers, which is the accounting firm that conducted the audit.
“It is a good audit report. The school district is in compliance with all the account standards and all the Department of Education standards, all those requirements,” Logan noted. “The district is in good financial position. Sound.”
The district had a 2.6 percent contingency fund, which is more than the state-mandated 2 percent contingency fund.
Logan noted that the audit contains a few comments, including providing additional training to bookkeepers and principals about adhering to Redbook requirements.
The comments dealt with things, such as turning over money the day it was collected or the next day if it was collected after business hours, and filling out proper receipts in a timely manner.
“I think it is pretty good,” Board Chairman Larry Lambdin noted about the audit as a whole.
Logan added that this year’s report also includes quite a bit more additional liabilities, which are now required to be reported for the unfunded pension and other post employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities.
“Those numbers are pretty staggering, but they are what they are,” she said. “These liabilities that are being required to be reported are here.”
While the debt is the responsibility of the State of Kentucky, Whitley County’s allocated amount as of June 30, 2018, was $156,076,827 for pension liabilities, and $10,996,000 for OPEB liabilities in the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, which cover’s the district’s professional staff, the audit report noted.
Non-professional staff members are covered by the Kentucky County Employees Retirement System, and the district’s share of pension liabilities there as of June 30, 2018, were $14,749,340 and $5,065,720 for OPED liabilities, according to the audit.
In other business, the board:
- Recognized student Hannah Hamblin for her participation in Berea College’s Partners for Education. Hamblin’s photos and poetry were featured in a clip put together by KET as part of its work with Berea College’s Partners for Education.
- Approved the purchase of two new copiers for Pleasant View Elementary School at a cost of $11,226. The copiers will replace two that were destroyed by a lightening strike.
- Heard from Chief Information Officer Kevin Anderson, who noted that Google is now pulling stories from the school district’s webpage. “Google is a big deal. I was pretty excited about that,” he noted. Anderson added that the school district also has its own app, which is available Google Play’s app store under the name Whitley County School District.