Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission
Woodford County Fiscal Court-Woodford County Courthouse
Minutes of Meeting
April 13, 2023
The regular bi-monthly meeting of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission, held on April 13, 2023, was called to order at 6:31 pm by Commission Chairperson Tim Middleton.
Commission members present: Cindy Batts, Tim Middleton, Chris Wright, Elizabeth Turley, and Jorge Espinoza,
Commission members absent: Wendall Shipp, Ronnie Smith, and Joann Muir
Visitors: Helen Rentch, Mary Kane, Silvester Howard, Reverend Larry Blackford
Prayer and welcome of visitors
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Motion was made by Chris, and seconded by Libby, for the approval of the minutes of the 2/2/23 meeting as presented. Motion passed.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Report was distributed by treasurer Elizabeth. There is a balance in the checking account of $2745.
Motion was made by Jorge and seconded by Chris to accept the treasurer’s report as presented. Motion passed.
Cindy let commission know that Dan Brown’s credit card is still on the Wix account (website) and he will need to be reimbursed once she is able to get a printout of the last transactions for this. Chris made the motion to pay this debt when the receipt is printed out and Gorge seconded it. Motion passed.
The Commission’s bank account is with Community Trust and Tim, Libby, and Cindy are signers/trustees on the account. When the signers/trustees are changed, the minutes of the meeting that names them officers/Commissioners will need to be brought to the bank for proof that they are allowed to access the account.
The new phone number for the Commission is up and running. Libby made a motion that we pay the student that voiced the Spanish for this be paid $25 as a thank you. Jorge seconded this motion and it passed.
Discussed needing new cards/magnets/etc. as we have changed our phone number since the last printing. Chris will get information on the cost of these and bring it to the next meeting for a vote.
Discussed needing to get books for the upcoming Twilight Festival. Cindy and Joann agreed to look into this.
The Commission has been approached about concerns with the hiring practices of the Woodford County Public Schools. Listened to the concerns of the public (see below for their comments) and discussed next steps. Need to talk with Garrett Wells, the committee that oversees hiring (made up of teachers and one parent), and the school board. Tim has requested more information from the school system. Once he gets this, he will inform the Commission and we will discuss what needs to be talked about and how with each entity. Will discuss possibly having some current/former students write letters to help with letting the school system know how important hiring of minorities is to development.
Comments/Questions from members of the public: Helen: The commission is the only way to enforce human rights laws. Talked about getting the census information for Woodford County to try to show some of the disparity in the school staff versus the overall population. Also talked about needing to get the Board of Education involved and invested in equitable hiring practices.
Silvester Howard: suggested that we start and end with the sentiment “we are here to help in whatever way we can” when we approach the school system. This puts us on a journey together instead of becoming involved in a fight where no one wins. He talked about how there are a low number of minorities in education in Kentucky in general and we may need to see if we can help the schools find a way to pull from surrounding states. He also mentioned that when he was a part of the Commission, he helped develop a way to have people apply for the vacant school jobs from the Commission website (this got it to more people, and helped him keep track of how many people were interested in filling out an application.
Rev. Larry Blackford: Talked about how every student needs to see minorities in schools as students and as staff, not just minority students. He says that he believes that parents of some of the students are part of the challenge to keep in mind as some of them do not want minority students in the classroom, much less in teaching roles. There is an Equity Committee that has recently been formed, he believes, to help with hiring. He suggests that we try to contact them and work with them on both hiring and retention of people of color/minorities.
NEXT MEETING: Thursday June 1, 2023 at the MUST building
Motion for adjournment was made by Libby and seconded by Jorge. Motion passed.