Eastern Ky. superintendents share damage reports, community needs
EASTERN KENTUCKY (WKYT) - It’s likely many of the school districts in eastern Kentucky will have to delay the start of school. Some districts are already making that decision, and others are evaluating damage and working on a timeline.
We heard from superintendents of school districts that include hard-hit Perry, Knott, Breathitt and Letcher counties. Some districts have more damage than others, impacting back-to-school dates for students.
“We are not going to be able to consider starting school for at least two weeks from our original start date, which was the 11th, in the rest of our buildings because we have thousands of people out of power. We have thousands of people that don’t have running water,” Perry County Superintendent John Jett said.
On top of that, Superintendent Jett said Perry County essentially lost two schools for the school year.
The Buckhorn School was severely damaged, and Robinson Elementary will need to be completely rebuilt.
“The unfortunate part is that the communities that were hit were some of our most impoverished communities,” Jett said.
It’s a similar story in Letcher County. The superintendent there said six schools were damaged, and the district lost two staff members.
“Our community as a whole is devastated,” Superintendent Denise Yonts said.
Knott County is also hurting—four of the deaths there were children, and they were siblings.
“We did lose one student, which was the oldest of four siblings she would’ve been a second-grade student Emily in elementary,” Knott County Superintendent Brent Hoover said.
Knott County will not start school until damages are assessed.
Breathitt County went through flooding in 2020, but school leaders said it’s nothing compared to this.
“We have some of the hardest-hit areas I’ve ever seen,” Superintendent Phillip Watts said.
Right now, the county needs portable showers and laundry services. Breathitt County Schools plans to delay school by a week.
The Kentucky Department of Education said from a funding standpoint, SEEK dollars will not be affected. They said districts can work toward completing required hours of instruction instead of a certain number of days.
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