Students benefit from school district refund

Published 4:10 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Every penny of the $38,441.07 that the Bell County School District will receive from the Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI), the Kentucky Department of Insurance, and Franklin Circuit Court will go directly to the students.

“Certainly any unexpected funds are a plus for the Bell County School District,” Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam said. “Our total budget is approximately $34 million and this $38,441 was money that we can use for activities for our children that possibly would have had to come from our general fund or contingency.”

Gilliam explains there will be a breakdown that is tentatively in place for the funds to be used.

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“$5,200 will go to the senior trip for all seniors that are eligible to go on the senior trip,” she explained. “The cost per senior was $160, and people in the community and the administrative staff at the Central Office have paid for any student who didn’t have the financial means to attend that trip so no senior will be left behind that wants to go.”

Part of that funding will also go toward a charter bus that is needed for the trip.

“We are very fortunate as our test scores have gone up we are now among the top school districts academically in the state of Kentucky,” stated Gilliam. “As those test scores have gone up, our students have become more and more competitive in state and national events and competitions.”

Gilliam and Financial Director Steve Silcox explained that part of the refund money will go toward sending those students to those regional, state and national competitions.

According to Gilliam, the board has spent $26,566.38 to pay for students lodging and food to state and national competitions.

The remaining amount of that $38,000 will be directed for students who want second helpings after having breakfast and lunch and are still hungry.

“We have a lot of students that what they get at school, sometimes, maybe is all they have access to in the way of food,” Gilliam said. “We want to make sure that no child leaves our school buildings hungry.”

The Bell County lunch program is a federal program, and that program does not provide for seconds for students and the Bell County Board picks up the tab. Last year, the Bell County School District spent $77,348.75 reimbursing the federal food service program for students who wanted second servings for breakfast and lunch.

“That balance from the $38,000, $6,674.62 will go toward providing the second servings of food for our students,” explained Gilliam. “Every penny of the $38,441.07 that we will receive is going directly to our students.”

Silcox explained that he is very excited to be able to provide these opportunities for students.

“To be able to provide things to children that we normally wouldn’t be able to provide, all these trips and things of that nature, is exciting,” he said.

“We are so proud of our students. We’ve never had more students excelling at the regional, state and national level than what we’ve had this year,” Gilliam said. “That lets me know that our teachers are doing a wonderful job, that our principals are doing a great job, but most of all it lets me know that our students are doing a great job in these classrooms.”