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New calling system will keep parents informed, says superintendent

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By Kate Darnell

Harrison County parents can expect several calls from the school this year.

For the first couple months of the school year, the Harrison County school district will try out a calling system that will allow the schools, teachers and coaches to contact parents through a phone call, text message and/or e-mail.

Chief Information Officer Melissa Shepard presented school board members with the details of the system at Friday evening’s special school board meeting.

The system, Shepard said, can make 9,000 calls in 20 minutes, allowing parents to be notified of emergencies such as cancelled school or early dismissal.

“Within 20 minutes, everyone in our community will know where we’re at,” Superintendent Andy Dotson said at the meeting.

The school district will have a 45-day trial period with the calling system. At the end of that time, Shepard said the school board can enter into a one-year contract with Community Safe Calling System.

The system will cost the board $6,200 a year.

Other business included:

•Harrison County High School Ag teachers Todd Brannock and Nicki Jones, along with the new HCMS ag teacher Erin Jury, presented board members with an update on the school farm and ag programs.

Jones said the teachers were working on several new projects at the farm including a pumpkin patch, increased cattle operation, a cattle handling system and potted and ground mums.

Jones, Brannock and Jury also discussed possible future plans and projects.

“I’m excited about what our kids here at Harrison County are going to get out of this program,” said Dotson.

•The board approved fundraisers for HCHS and Northside Elementary.

•Director of Pupil Personnel Lloyd Ogden gave board members a report on the year’s attendance.

Ogden said the number of expulsions and dropouts for this past school year were  lower than last year.

The board approved the year end attendance report.

•The board approved a pay application to Venture One in the amount of $123,851.25 for the new stadium, pending KDE approval.

•The board voted to grant approval for a pay application for $4,008.79 to HK Construction and a BG-4 form of $44,610.88 for the Northside Elementary sewage line.

•Under advisement from Director of Facilities David Case, the board voted to accept Tri-State’s bid for roofing repair work at HCMS in the amount of $17,950.

•In anticipation of the new school year, the board approved the signature form for AUP and publication consent form, bus routes, district assurances, and emergency, certified and pilot substitute teachers.

•The board approved the first reading of policies with required legal language added to current policies.

•Consideration to grant approval to declare band items as surplus was tabled until the board’s August meeting.

•The board granted approval for the volleyball team to travel to Prestonsburg on an overnight trip for a tournament in August.

•The board granted approval for the baseball team to travel to Las Vegas for the Bishop Gorman National Easter Classic April 5-10, 2010.

•The board voted to join the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation.