“I think Friday evening is going to be a very nice event,” said Supt. Lenny Whalen at Monday night’s meeting of the Dawson Springs Board of Education in regards to commencement exercises for the DSHS Class of 2020.

According to a news release, the graduation parade and ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. The parade of seniors will be led by School Resource Officer Jim Saddler and honor graduates. The route will begin at Kintucky (former Ottenheimer factory) on Industrial Park Road, with a turn on Arcadia Avenue in front of the Dairy Queen, will proceed through the town square around Veterans’ Memorial Park, returns to Arcadia Avenue, with a turn on Eli Street. Eli Street leads to the district’s campus, where the graduates’ vehicles will be driven directly to Panther Way towards a stage located between the two schools.

Due to social distancing protocols amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the only vehicles permitted on Panther Way during the commencement exercises will be those driven by the seniors and their immediate families (only one vehicle per family) participating in the parade. The graduation ceremony conducted on the stage will be broadcast live on the district’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DawsonSpringsSchools/.

In other news, the Board:

- approved the Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) plan for the 2020-21 school year, which is intended for emergency use--not necessarily for inclement weather closures, unless it is mandated by an emergent event.

“I’m not necessarily a fan of NTI days,” said Whalen. “I’d rather have those actual instructional days.”

- voted unanimously to approve the contribution of up to $20,000 towards a School Resource Officer (SRO) in collaboration with the City of Dawson Springs, the Hopkins County Fiscal Court, and the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department. The Board also authorized Whalen’s direct correspondence with those entities to obtain a potential agreement to provide SRO services for the 2020-21 school session. “I have spoken with Magistrate Charlie Beshears, and all indications are that things are going to continue as normal as far as the fiscal court contributing,” said Whalen.

- retained Duguid, Gentry and Associates, PSC, as district auditor for fiscal year 2021 at an increase of $705 over the previous year’s cost of $14,175.

- agreed to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, or meal program, for 2020-21.

- contracted with the Hopkins County Health Department to continue to provide a satellite clinic on campus at a rate of $15,600, which will also provide a school nurse for the district.

- modified the 2020-21 (and all future) certified salary schedule(s) to reflect that all credentialed Speech Language Pathologist positions will be compensated off the certified salary table at an experience level of: Bachelor’s Degree, Rank III; Master’s Degree, Rank II; and Doctoral, Rank I.

- accepted the lone bid of $16,958 placed by Hamby Construction to complete sidewalk repair at DSHS. Additionally, the Board discussed and approved a cost of $2,140, also payable to Hamby Construction, to repair a ramp for the use of those with disabilities.

- recognized the late Lance Pace, an employee with the district’s transportation department, who lost a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on April 11. “I think our Board should recognize his service to our district--he was a fine young man who was taken from his family much too early,” said member Kent Dillingham.

Board Chair Vicki Allen agreed, “He was an irreplaceable force.”

- discussed the retirements of instructional assistant Cathy Watson and Food Services Director LaDonna Bennett, effective June 30. “We typically do a big presentation on closing day, and have cake and punch, and give out the nice rocking chairs--and we’ve got those for them,” said Whalen. “We’re going to hold off on the official piece of that recognition until we can bring everybody back together--I think that’s important.”

- announced that the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 18, which was adjusted to coincide with the end of the fiscal year.