The Fayette County school board chose new leadership at its meeting Thursday.
Melissa Bacon was elected chairman, and Amanda Ferguson was elected vice chair. Board members had no discussion about the elections.
Bacon replaces John Price, who died Feb. 23 after a more than two-year battle with leukemia. Thursday’s was the first board meeting since Price died.
“I’m going to look at the way John conducted himself as a model of how to perform in this role,” Bacon said.
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Bacon, who studied English at the University of Kentucky, was appointed to the board in 2006 and elected in 2007, 2008 and 2012. She represents District 1 in western Fayette County. Bacon’s term expires in December, and she has said she intends to run for re-election. Samantha Rodarte has also filed for that seat.
Ferguson, a full-time mom with psychology degrees from the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University, was elected to the board in 2006, 2010 and 2014. She has two years remaining in her term representing District 4, which includes neighborhoods around the University of Kentucky and a wedge of Lexington bounded by Tates Creek and Richmond Roads inside Man o’War Boulevard.
Board member Daryl Love has said he’s running for re-election in District 5. Sharon Mofield Boswell has also filed to run for that seat.
The contested races will be on the ballot in November.
Price had represented District 3, which encompasses eastern Fayette County between Winchester and Richmond roads out to the county line and areas outside Man o’ War between Richmond and Tates Creek roads, since 2003. His term was to expire at the end of 2016.
Under state law, Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt has 90 days to appoint someone to fill Price’s unexpired term. The next four-year term will be filled in the November election. A committee selected by the commissioner will interview all qualified candidates and make a recommendation to Pruitt, who will make the final determination.
On March 14 and 21, the school board will advertise for qualified applicants for the vacancy by running notices in the Herald-Leader and on the school district website with instructions for those interested in applying for the seat. The postmark deadline for applications will be March 25.
High radon levels
High radon levels were found at nine Fayette County Public Schools, requiring an emergency fix.
The schools are Bryan Station High, Booker T. Washington Intermediate, Harrison, Leestown Middle, LTMS, Mary Todd, Russell Cave, SCAPA and Sandersville. Remediation will cost $571,846. Myron Thompson, acting senior director of operations and support, said work will begin during spring break and continue over the summer, all when students are not present.
Radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It comes from the natural decay of uranium found in soil. It moves into buildings through openings in the foundation.
The levels of radon are higher than the 4 picocuries per liter limit recommended by the EPA. The highest level found was 15.8 picocuries per liter in Harrison Elementary.
Last year, high radon levels were found at the district’s Locust Trace AgriScience Center and Yates Elementary. Since then, Thompson said, district officials have been continually checking school properties.