Shelby County School Board: Collins students will run for Beta Club national office

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Northside, Southside buildings remain on schedule

By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Board of Education’s meeting on Thursday was the site of a national announcement.


Collins junior Ryan Ruff, who was elected state Beta Club President and will serve his term next year, announced his intentions to run for president of the national organization.

“I’m here today to formerly announce my intentions for the candidacy of the national president,” Ruff told the board.

Ruff, the son of Dan and Liz Ruff, was actually at the meeting to talk about his candidacy for the state president.

“Last year, as a sophomore, I was able to attend the Beta Club convention and new immediately that I wanted to run for president as a junior,” he said. “To run you have to give a two-minute speech, do a skit and participate in a question-and-answer session. Last year I helped a fellow Collins student run, but unfortunately we lost.”

Ruff used Twitter to advance his platform and gained more than 200 new followers during the convention.

He has started serving the state’s ambassador at other states’ conventions and will attend the National Convention on June 15-22 in Mobile, Ala.

Ruff would not be the first national president from Shelby County. Travis Adams, a former Shelby County High School student and the 2010 Pflughaupt Scholarship winner, also served as the national president.

Ruff has a 3.5 grade-point average and also serves as the Titans mascot. He has worked with Operation Care, led art and piano lessons at nursing homes and even operated a horse-drawn carriage for the Celebration of Lights.

Along with the Beta Club, Ruff is also a member of the Titan Singers and participates in Odyssey of the Mind.

School Board attorney

The board heard a lengthy discussion about the necessity of having a school board attorney at the meetings. Former board attorney Nathan Riggs stepped down in August, and the board has not had an attorney since then.

The consensus was for Neihof to request a breakdown of costs for the board to employ Chenoweth Law Office as the board’s attorney. Chenoweth has been retainer for the board and is called and bills on an as-needed basis.

Northside/Southside updates

The board heard a report on the continued progress on both the Northside Early Childhood Center and the new Southside Elementary School.

Harry Dumesnil, architect and project leader for K. Norman Berry Architects, said both projects remain on schedule.

Dumesnil reported that walls are starting to go up at Northside on the north and west parts of the building and that the retaining wall on the east side of the property is nearly complete.

The board also approved the first change order for the Northside project.

“It addresses some found conditions on the property,” Dumesnil said. “We found some items that had to be removed from the soil and a pipe that had to be rerouted. Also, there is a cistern that was found under the porch of one of the homes that was demolished, and it had to be filled with concrete.”

The cost of the found items, however, were offset by credits from the brick allowance. The full change order resulted in a deduction of $124.40 on the project.

At Southside, Dumesnil said he expects things to get back under way soon.

“There has been little activity on the project this month,” he said. “We have been meeting with the contractor and discussing subcontractors. Once work begins, they will be using the new access road that was completed this winter.”

The road connects the back of the Southside property with Kentucky Street near the Shelby County Animal Shelter.

The first act of business, Dumesnil said, will be for the contractors to build a fence to separate the current Southside property from the building site.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Recognized 2-time district spelling bee champion Hanako Boucher, who will compete in the state competition later this month.
  • Approved school allocations and staffing guidelines for the 2013-14 school year.
  • Approved payment of claims and authorized necessary signatures for documentation.
  • Approved employing J. Quintin Biagi, PSC Architectural Firm for the East Middle Roof Project and allowing the project to begin. The cost of the project is expected to be just more than $166,000.
  • Approved waiving board policy to allow Collins and Shelby County high school students to travel on March 17 to the Kentucky United National Assembly.
  • Approved allowing Clear Creek Elementary School to apply for an ADK grant for the 2013-14 school year.
  • Held a closed session to conduct a mid-year evaluation of Superintendent James Neihof.