MOUNT VERNON — Like educational entities around the state, the Knox County Educational Service Center is tightening its belt. In a special meeting June 7, the KCESC board, due to decreased student enrollment and a significant financial deficit at the Alternative Center, abolished three teaching positions.
Treasurer Heather Darnold explained the situation during the board’s meeting on Wednesday. She said enrollment at the Alternative Center has ranged from 80 to 100 students, but only 37 “seats” for the upcoming school year have been purchased by the county’s school districts. That means revenue will be down, while expenses, such as utilities and insurance, continue to rise.
The Mount Vernon City School district owns the property and building which houses the Alternative Center. Although the ESC does not pay rent, it is now required to pay the cost of property insurance, electricity, water, gas and other utilities. Darnold said those costs come close to $25,000 a year.
She said if enrollment at the center increases, additional teachers will be brought in as needed.
Superintendent Timm Mackley told the News that students at the Alternative Center will continue to use the A+ program, a virtual learning system. Live staff members will be available to assist the students, he said, and they will not be spending the entire school day in front of a computer screen.