By Lee Weyhrich
CLAY — Though there wasn’t much on the Clay City Council agenda Monday the audience was treated to a presentation from Jefferson County School Board Superintendent Craig Pouncey.
Pouncey spoke to the council about several ongoing efforts, including zoning changes and construction projects. The board has been in talks with the Justice Department to adjust zoning to allow students to go to school in their communities. Problems have arisen due to poor zoning as well as the number of systems that have left the county school system to begin their own systems. These problems have caused many students to be bused to schools outside of their community, Pouncey said.
This has also led some schools to become overcrowded.
“Chalkville Elementary is the largest elementary in the entire district, and we’ve got to get them some relief,” Pouncey said. “If the Justice Department approves it we’re hoping their enrollment will be down to 900. About 200 to 250 kids could be transferred to Center Point because they currently live in Center Point, but they go to schools in the Clay area.”
Pouncey and board members are scheduled to meet with a representative of the Justice Department on Friday.
Pouncey said a goal of his was to see that every school in the county is treated equally. To this end, the board is undergoing projects at every school. The board is currently taking bids to build a new cafeteria at the elementary school, and those bids should be made public in two weeks. The board has also embarked on a project to install new lights in the gymnasium and auditorium at the high school.
Pouncey thanked the city council for their support of the schools.
“Being a county school system is a difficult thing, especially with the financial problems we’ve had the last five years, and diminishing state support,” Pouncey said. “We’ve had to rely on our local support, and the things we’ve been able to accomplish just in this last couple of years would not have been possible without the help of this council, and I appreciate that.”
Earlier this year, the council announced a grant program worth $500 to one deserving teacher at each Clay school. Council Woman Becky Johnson announced this year’s winners; Carol Hobby from Clay Elementary, Laura Snowden from Clay-Chalkville High School, and Kristin Cox from Clay-Chalkville Middle School.
The council also voted to fund $25,000 in renovations for improvement of the baseball facility, covering roughly half the cost of improvements for the county.