WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — Clark County school board Chairman Michael Kuduk says the board will probably have to comply with orders from Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday to start implementing a controversial facilities plan.LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A state report shows the number of coal jobs in Kentucky has dwindled to its lowest point since 1950.
The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/13Is49Khttp://bit.ly/13Is49K ) says Holliday sent a bluntly worded email message to board members on Tuesday, seemingly leaving no choice but to move forward with the plan, starting May 28. Holliday warned if deadlines aren't met, the state will hold funding that constitutes more than half the district budget.The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/ZdvipP) cited data from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in reporting that the 13,109 people worked in the coal industry during the first quarter of 2013. The newspaper reports that is the least amount of workers since state officials began keeping records in 1950.
Board members previously delayed for a year a plan to merge the county's two middle schools and have also rejected renovations at Clark Middle School and the old George Rogers Clark High School."These numbers are not surprising, but they're very concerning," said Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.
Kuduk said Wednesday he isn't happy with what he described as a "threat" but believes the board will probably have to comply.Employment at Kentucky coal mines has decreased by almost 5,700 workers in eastern Kentucky over the last 18 months and production has fallen by 42 percent. In September of 2011, there were 18, 804 workers in the industry.
___According to analysts, the low price of natural gas was a key factor in the lower demand for coal from Eastern Kentucky in 2012, when production dropped almost 28 percent.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.comhttp://www.kentucky.comThe state report says production at underground mines in eastern Kentucky increased by nearly 2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, but it fell by 4.6 percent at surface mines meaning an overall decline.