With the new year comes a new lineup for the Pulaski County Board of Education.

Fellow members elected District 3 Representative Cindy Price to chair the board through next January. She has chaired the board before, during her initial tenure on the board from 2007 to 2015. She rejoined the board in March 2018 to fill an unexpired term and was elected to the seat that fall.

"Thank you for your vote of confidence," Price said. "I will do my best."

Price was nominated by outgoing chair Brandy Daniels, who has served District 1 since 2013 and chaired the board since 2015. Dr. Rebekah Branscum, who has served District 5 since 2017, will keep her position as vice-chair.

As is customary with the January meeting of each year, the Pulaski County Board of Education also needed to establish the regular meeting schedule. The school board will continue to meet the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at Central Office on North Main Street, except for the April and October meetings (which change to the third Tuesday due to Spring and Fall breaks).

In other business, District Fiscal Services Director Rebecca Wright presented a draft budget for the 2020-21 school year, which the state requires to be approved by January 31. Wright noted that the district doesn't have a lot of information to go on at this point, as the Kentucky legislature is just getting started on the state budget. The draft included only required Rank and Step certified increases as well as a tentative one percent increase in operating expenses. A more concrete budget projection would be available after the staffing allocation is ready on March 1, she said.

The board recognized Shopville Elementary School for their selection as a National Blue Ribbon School and Madelyn Blankenship for her appointment to the state Education Commissioner's Student Advisory Council.

The Pulaski County High School sophomore joined the council last month and updated the board on the meeting she had attended so far. The purpose of the council is to meet with the commissioner and Kentucky Department of Education staff to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting public school students throughout Kentucky and provide feedback - from a student perspective - on critical issues impacting Kentucky students and schools.

The meeting closed with a reception in celebration of School Board Recognition Month.

"We do appreciate you all," Superintendent Pat Richardson said. "I work with a lot of superintendents around the state and I get to hear a lot of people gripe about their board. I can tell you I don't gripe about my board, and I am very, very happy to serve with you. I know you have the students of Pulaski County at heart, and the decisions you make focus on them."

Price added that all the board members work hard to review each month's packet and ask questions as needed instead of "rubberstamping" recommendations. "We do put time into this agenda and the documents it contains," she said.

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