Kentucky education officials praise progress at Breathitt County Schools

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

JACKSON, Ky (WYMT) - Kentucky's Commissioner of Education was at Breathitt County High School to talk about the progress the school has made since the state took it over last year.

Terry Holliday said he wanted to make Friday all about the students and the successes they are having.

He said there has been enough press about the "adult problems" going on in the county and said it is time to focus on the good news coming out of the high school.

"You are a bright, shining example of what is possible in Breathitt County," said Holliday.

Holliday spoke to students about the accomplishments they have made since the state took over the school district last year.

"Before there was not that much focus on attendance. Dropouts did not matter. Graduation rates did not really matter that much. But now, I think teachers, the administration and the kids are really focused on the right things," said Holliday.

Holliday brought in Larry Hammond as the district's state manager last December to help the school address its budget woes and mismanagement by administrators.

Hammond said these issues have plagued the school but there is a silver lining in the student's resolve.

"We have had a lot of energy put in the fiscal aspects, the budget, the staffing and all that encompasses that. But we have tried to maintain a clear vision toward what we can do with students," said Hammond.

Both men said they see that vision coming to fruition in the faces of these students.

"We have all known for quite a while that Breathitt County had capability. Our goal as a state is to be gone as quickly as possible and to get Breathitt County running itself again," said Holliday.

Holliday said the school's graduation rate is now higher than the state average.

He added that it is really the students and staff that deserve all the credit for turning the school around.

But Hammond stressed they are still tackling those "adult problems", like the district's budget crisis.

He said a new four percent property tax will help some.

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