On Educating LaRue: Leaders map plans for future

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By Ron Benningfield

 Last week, three members of the LaRue County Board of Education shared their views of the greatest challenges facing the board and school system today and the goals they envision attaining during their terms in office.


This column continues with the remaining two.


Division Four

Price Smith, Division Four (Magnolia, Upton and Barren Run) has served seven years on the board.  

A long-term LaRue County resident, he is a 1986 LaRue County High School graduate who lives off U.S. 31-E just north of Magnolia.

He and Rhonda, his wife, have two children, Kaylee and Parker.

Challenges: “Twofold: managing the district budget with ever decreasing state and federal funding while not diminishing quality; and meeting the ever increasing assessment standards.

“Our greatest need is for stability from the state regarding our education funding; each year we plan based on unknown factors from an unpredictable General Assembly forecasting an unclear future. If things were stable, long-range planning would be considerably much easier. 

“Overall, we’re in good shape; the budget is tight but still good; test scores are at record levels; facilities are in good shape; teacher salaries are very competitive and our faculty and staff are second to none.”

Goals: “Short term, LaRue County Schools will consistently be at the top of our region in all academic categories. Long term, LCS will consistently be in the top 10 percent of districts in the state.”


Division Five

Joanna Hinton, who lives seven miles south of Hodgenville on KY 210, represents Division 5 (Hodgenville, Otter/Attila and Mount Sherman).  

She began her board service in March 2012 to fill an unexpired term and was elected in November. 

She is married to Jeremy Hinton. The owners of Hinton’s Orchard, they have two children - Jacob, a third-grader at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, and Joslyn, who will start kindergarten this fall. 

Challenges: “While LaRue County Schools have remained in better financial shape than many other school districts, we have to be diligent in keeping ahead of financial issues that might cause the need for staff reductions or other cuts that will compromise the academic growth that the district has had in the last few years.

“The greatest need that our schools have is to continue having the human and financial resources to educate our students so that they are college and career ready. The high school and middle school are currently ranked highly among their peers statewide, and we need to continue that, but a big need right now is to focus on our elementary school students to raise their level of learning across all subject areas.”

Goals: “As a board of education, it is our job to always focus on the long term. The only goal of our schools should be to provide the best possible education to the young people of LaRue County to prepare them for college and/or the workforce.”