A routine piece of business at the Somerset Independent Board of Education meeting Tuesday night prompted a brief discussion on how difficult it has been for schools to find substitute teachers recently.
Board members had to approve the hiring of emergency substitutes in order to get those substitutes certified through the Educational Professional Standards Board.
During that discussion, board Vice Chairman Jacob W. Grabeel asked if it was still hard to find substitutes.
“Yes,” Superintendent Kyle Lively responded. “Do you know any?”
“No,” Grabeel said, laughing.
After the meeting, Lively said that it is difficult in the best of times to find enough substitutes, but last year was particularly difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re always in the market for good-quality substitutes that love to interact with the kids in a positive fashion,” Lively said.
Also at the meeting, school board members approved the renewal of the contract between the district and the city of Somerset for Student Resource Officers (SROs) to be based in the schools.
The contract is similar to those of the past. Three SROs provided through the Somerset Police Department will be employed within the schools during school hours and events.
Beside acting as law enforcement, the SROs agree to assist with instructional services such as helping with drug education, internet safety and conflict resolution, and may be asked to be a guest lecturer.
As part of the agreement, Somerset Independent agrees to reimburse the city $15,000 a year for each SRO, “to be paid in whole or quarterly by the School District.”
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved the acceptance of a Pledge of Collateral Agreement from Cumberland Valley National Bank as being the bond depository for the school system.
Lively explained that the bank has to ensure that it has enough collateral on hand, plus FDIC insurance, to cover any public funds deposited by the district. This agreement is required by the Kentucky Board of Eduction.