Members of Warren County Public Schools board of education used a virtual headset and controls to stroll through or fly over a computer rendering of the finished Jennings Creek Elementary School during a special-called meeting Tuesday.
The headset, which shows students socializing or studying throughout the school, allows users to get a spatial sense of the great hall, a classroom, the school’s media center and the spiral staircase encased in glass that overlooks the media center.
Progress continues on the school as construction officials work to have its two classroom wings under a roof by the first week of December.
In other business, board members reviewed a financial audit for fiscal year 2017.
Chris McIntyre, the district’s chief financial officer, said the audit indicates the district is in good financial health.
“It shows we’re strong financially,” he said in an interview following the meeting. “We have the resources to meet the demands of running the district.”
Revenue for fiscal year 2017 exceeded the district’s expenses, but the district does have challenges going forward.
“The challenges we will face are keeping up with continued growth,” he said.
The district is currently undergoing redistricting of school attendance zones to accommodate enrollment growth and the addition of its new elementary school.
McIntyre said there’s also uncertainty about the upcoming legislative session in which lawmakers will craft a budget.
The state’s ongoing pension liability crisis is also an ongoing concern.
According to the audit, the district’s pension liability under the County Employees Retirement System is $33,286,339. Its liability under the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System is much steeper – totaling $546,951,069.
Board member Don Basham said that figure underscores the urgency in finding a solution to funding teacher retirements.
“If this were pushed down to us it would be an astronomical value” to cover, he said.
As the district looks ahead to its future, officials are watching lawmakers in Frankfort. McIntyre said officials are monitoring pension and tax reform efforts.
“There’s a lot of big topics out there that have significant impact on operating school districts,” he said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.