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East Carter could receive $14 million for renovations: Board also looking at options for West upgrades

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 The Carter County Board of Education met in special session on Monday night to accept an offer from the School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) for assistance in funding renovations to East Carter High School. The SFCC sent a letter to superintendent Dr. Ronnie Dotson informing him they had “been authorized to make an additional offer of assistance to Carter County Schools in the amount of $14,077,165 to be used for the renovation of East Carter High School.” 

The funding comes from a section of Kentucky House Bill 556, which appropriates federal funds from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund to the SFCC for school facility construction costs. Money from the fund is disbursed according to facility rankings. East Carter High School is currently number 85 in the Kentucky Facilities Inventory and Classification System rankings, as of February, 2020. 

Dr. Dotson explained that West Carter was further down the list, in the mid 100s, and so was not yet eligible for any funding. He said he had asked about splitting the funds between schools, or holding funds for a possible future consolidation project, but the available funds are earmarked for the East Carter High School building only. 

The letter from the SFCC states this explicitly, noting, “the Commission is making an offer to be used for the completion of the above cited project and may not be used for any other purpose.”

The offer of funding is “contingent upon the receipt of federal funds,” the letter continued and noted that the SFCC currently has no timeline of when those funds will be released. 

The board moved to accept the offer of assistance and issue an order to that effect, as required by the SFCC for disbursement of funds. 

Board member Kirk Wilburn raised the question of issuing bonds for funds to renovate West Carter High School as well. Dotson answered yes, it was one of the possible options the district would be looking at.

Though there were no motions to begin any action toward raising funds for a West Carter renovation at the meeting, the board did unanimously support any such move in the future. 

“What we do for one, we do for the other,” board member Lisa Ramey-Easterling said, noting this has long been the position of the board. 

In other action the board approved action items by consent, including the use of Title I funds for textbook purchases at each of the high schools, the addition of another food service position, and items related to the employ of adjunct instructors, substitutes, and emergency certified teachers.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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