Chief Hunt at school board

SPD Chief William Hunt, left, hands a certificate to Somerset Independent Board of Education member Paula Wheeler, left, while board member Jacob Grabeel looks at his certificate.

Somerset Independent’s Board of Education heard the district’s annual audit report, was recognized by city government officials for School Board Recognition Month, and changed its meeting time for the first time in recent memory, all during the board’s first meeting of the new calendar year.

Board members heard from Wallace Smallwood of Cloyd and Associates PSC, who presented the audit report for the 2020-2021 school year.

Smallwood read from the report’s cover letter, which stated that the district’s financial records were “presented fairly in all material respects,” meaning it is what is called an unmodified opinion or a “clean audit.”

As part of the report, Smallwood noted that the district’s total net position was $15.6 million in the black, which was around $806,000 more than the year before.

“I’m going to tell you, I doubt there’s eight out of 10 schools, especially in this area of southern Kentucky, that can say that,” Smallwood said.

He also said that there were no issues of compliance with any federal funds, and no findings overall.

Also as part of the meeting, Somerset Police Chief William Hunt represented Somerset’s City Government in recognizing board members during National School Board Recognition Month.

Hunt read out a proclamation signed by Mayor Alan Keck, as well as offering his own words of encouragement for board members.

“You folks are truly facing unprecedented times as a school board.” Hunt said, referring to having to deal with the ongoing COVID pandemic.

“You guys have faced unprecedented things over the past couple of years, and you continue to advocate for our children, for our children’s education, for their future, and the future of our community.’

Hunt then pointed out that school board members don’t get paid to be a part of the board, something that Superintendent Kyle Lively echoed.

“The heart of good leadership is sacrifice, and each of you sacrifice. … You do it as a service to the community and to our kids. Each of you brings a different perspective and have different ideas about things, and when we approach problems it’s great to have such a common sense group with such a diverse background and intelligence that can come together in unison to solve a problem, when the end goal is always going to be what’s best for kids.”

As one of the several actions the board took, members voted to change the official time for monthly board meetings from 6 p.m. to noon.

“That’s a big change. We’ve never done this before,” said Scott Gulock, board chair.

Meeting days will still be on the second Tuesday of each month.

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