For the first time in school district history, Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk reports students of color will represent more than half of the entire student population.
Caulk delivered his annual “State of the Schools” report Wednesday morning to a crowded banquet room in downtown Lexington. Caulk said it’s important to recruit talented educators of color. “We want to make sure that the materials we put in front of our students are rigorous, but also respect and represent a cultural diversity as well. That’s intentional and that’s the work that we are doing,” said Caulk.
The total student enrollment in Fayette County was just over 42,000 last year. The Lexington public school district employs more than 8000 workers.
Students can’t undergo learning if there are challenges in getting to school. Manny Caulk said all buses have drivers. “We raised the starting pay of our bus drivers to 17-76 to attract and retain staff. And I’m thrilled to say with a week to go before the school year starts, all of our bus routes are fully staffed for the first time in a decade,” said Caulk.
School Spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said starting pay for bus drivers went up by more than three dollars per hour.
Caulk said academic success and behavioral health are intertwined. The superintendent said all of the 13 million dollars to support the school safety investment plan is spoken for. Caulk said if the state legislature acts to fund state school safety legislation that could mean a reduction in the local tax effort in that area.
Caulk, meanwhile, admitted the Lexington district is not immune from teacher shortage challenges. But, he said Fayette County is a destination for educators, partly because it is competitive in salaries and benefits. The school district leader said there are fewer than 20 teacher openings. The school report states that the average pay for a Lexington public school teacher is more than $59 thousand.
Stu Johnson spoke to Caulk following his presentation Wednesday morning:
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton attended the "State of the Schools" address:
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