Supt. Liggins delivers first State of Schools address in three years
Supt. Liggins says while there have been challenges, the district's resilience is remarkable
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Wednesday morning, Fayette County Public Schools officials met for its first State of Schools address in three years.
Superintendent Demetrus Liggins says the progress made in that time, especially given the circumstances, is remarkable, saying in the past three years, the pandemic, racial and social justice reckonings, and political discord have forever changed our lives, particularly for students and the district.
Liggins says the last year brought numerous challenges, namely with staffing, saying bus routes had to be canceled due to driver shortages.
“I had to send a message to families canceling four bus routes because we did not have enough drivers. The next week, I asked everyone who works in the John D. Price Administration Building to get a food handler’s permit so we could help serve lunches in our schools,” said Liggins.
He says he and the board still emphasized in-person learning as much as possible.
The Board of Education also approved a $12 million budget investment to address inadequate pay for hourly workers, which Supt. Liggins says has been an ongoing problem for decades.
He says the new school year is off to a much better start in terms of staffing.
“I am thrilled to report to you that although we are always recruiting, especially in our critical areas of transportation, child nutrition, and custodial services, we started this school year in a much better place when it comes to staffing. If you know anyone who is interested in subbing, we are still hiring,” said Liggins.
He also says there’s been a 71 percent increase in requests for student mental health services since 2019. However, Liggins is sharing some good news, saying the district has dramatically increased its mental health staff and doubled its amount of school police officers with a new Comprehensive Safety Investment Plan.
“Another investment has been in our Police Department, which has grown from 36 officers to 70. We will hire five more officers a year over the next three years to ensure we have at least one police officer in every school,” said Liggins.
Liggins concluded by saying Fayette County is one of the most educated counties in the country, ranking 13th in the nation for the percentage of people living here with a Bachelor’s degree.