News Digest: March 15, 2013

-A A +A
By The Staff

Shelby unemployment rises

but is 4th best in the state


Shelby County’s unemployment rate rose in January but was still the fourth-best rate in the Kentucky.

Unemployment figures for January, released Thursday by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, show Shelby with a 6.7 percent jobless rate, which trails only perennially No. 1 Woodford County (5.9), Fayette (6.5) and Oldham (6.6).

Shelby’s rate rose to 6.7 percent from the 6.1 in December, but it was well below the 7.8 percent of January 2012. Rates fell year over year in 83 counties.

Rounding out the top 10 lowest rates were Madison County, 7 percent; Franklin County, 7.1 percent; Daviess and Scott counties, 7.2 percent each; and Anderson, Hancock and Union counties, 7.3 percent each.
Magoffin County recorded the state’s highest unemployment rate, 18.8 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, rates were up across the board from December. Spencer County had the next best rate (7.8 percent), followed by Jefferson (8.2), Bullitt (8.6) and Henry (9.0).
Unemployment statistics are based on estimates and are compiled to measure trends rather than actually to count people working. Civilian labor force statistics include non-military workers and unemployed Kentuckians who are actively seeking work.

They do not include unemployed Kentuckians who have not looked for employment within the past four weeks. The statistics in this news release are not seasonally adjusted to allow for comparisons between United States, state and county figures.

Transparency sought for superintendents’ pay

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday supports a recommendation by Auditor Adam Edelen to require superintendent contracts, benefits and evaluations be made available online after a series of school district special examinations found a lack of transparency and oversight.

The two men had a joint press conference and issued a statement on Thursday to announce their positions after the Auditor’s office last week released a scandalous special examination that found the former superintendent of Dayton Independent Schools received $224,000 in benefits and payments over an 8-year period that were not authorized by the school board. An examination released last fall found the former superintendent of the Mason County School District also received compensation in excess of his contract.

“When school boards are in the dark about the benefits and payments their own superintendents are receiving, how can the public ever be confident their tax dollars are being spent to provide our children with the world-class education they deserve?” Edelen said.

Superintendent salaries are currently posted on the Kentucky Department of Education’s Web site, but more information about superintendent contracts and benefits – such as expense allowances, retirement benefits and tuition assistance – would be needed to give a complete picture of superintendents’ total compensation packages.


Baptists support religion bill

Stating that he wished “to do all I can to see this bill become law,” Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood sent a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear this week, urging him to sign House Bill 279, the Religious Freedom Act.
“The protection of religious liberty is of vital importance to more than 750,000 Kentucky Baptists and all people of faith in our great state,” Chitwood said in a cover letter to state legislators, expressing his thanks to those who supported the bill’s passage, The Western Recorder reported.
The Religious Freedom Act seeks to strengthen legal protections for religious minorities by restoring “compelling interest” and “least restrictive means” as the legal tests by which the government must prove any action before restricting religious freedom. The bill, proponents argue, brings Kentucky back into line with federal courts, which have used the standard since the 1930s. They argue that the courts can determine if a law “substantially burdens” someone’s religious practices.
“All this bill would do is to return long-standing legal protections to the people of faith that the Kentucky Supreme Court took away in a decision last October,” Martin Cothran of The Family Foundation said in a recent press release.
Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union and other human rights organizations, are urging the governor to veto the bill, however. They fear the law could lead to discrimination against homosexuals on religious grounds – although, according to a recent Associated Press article, there is little evidence to support these fears in the 16 states where religious freedom acts have been passed.

Parent academy for schools

The Shelby County Public Schools Parent Academy is offering a free workshop, “What can I do to prepare my child for kindergarten,” from 6 to 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Painted Stone Elementary’s library.

There will be hands-on activities and take-home materials. Childcare will be provided for preschool and older children. A registration form is available from a SCPS preschool teacher or by sending an E-mail to Saylor Aylmer at saylor.aylmer@shelby.kyschools.us. Kindergarten registration is from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. March 27 at the six elementary schools and again from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23.

At the registration, parents should bring their child for an assessment while they complete required paperwork. To enroll in Kindergarten, the child must be 5 years of age on or before Oct. 1 as verified by a state-certified birth certificate.

Shelby County Public Schools’ Kindergarten Program focuses on building learning skills in a climate that enhances each child and working closely with families to meet the academic and social needs.

Certain documents that are needed for registration include state-certified birth certificate, child’s social security card, current immunization records on Kentucky form, physical exam, eye exam, dental exam, proof of residence and student registration form.

Proof of current immunizations (vaccines) is required by the Kentucky State Department of Health is required to be presented at the time of registration. The registration process is not complete until all immunizations are current. 

Proof of residency is required at the time of new student registration. Proof of residence is the child’s home address verified with a copy of a current utility bill. Two proofs of residence are needed. A parent/guardian driver’s license will not be accepted.

Bus transportation is available for all students as well as breakfast and lunch.

Shelby County elementary schools operate on a regular schedule beginning Aug. 7. The regular school day is 7:40 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

If you have questions, contact 633-2375.


Democrats set meeting

The Shelby County Democratic Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Stratton Center, 219 Washington St., Shelbyville. All Democrats are welcome.


Multi-Purpose board meeting

Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency’s board of directors will meet at 1:30 p.m. March 25 at the Spencer County Fiscal Court Room located in Taylorsville. The public is invited to attend. Multi-Purpose CAA provides services in Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer Counties.


I-64 lane closures possible

Lane closures and delays are possible on Interstate 64 from the Welcome Center to a half-mile east of KY 55 because of the roadway-widening project. Lane closures are scheduled Sunday through Friday from 7 each evening until 5 the following morning and on Saturdays from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday. The eastbound exit to KY 55 South (Exit 32A) is closed for several months because of ramp construction. Motorists can use Exit 32B to access both KY 55 North and South. 


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.