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West Carroll Approves Budget, COVID Plan

Posted 8/10/21

ATWOOD (August 5) — West Carroll Special School District Board of Education approved a $9,051,084 budget for the fiscal year 2021-22, beginning July 1, 2021. It is funded by a local tax rate of $1.2207 per $100 assessed value on real property within the district.

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West Carroll Approves Budget, COVID Plan


ATWOOD (August 5) — West Carroll Special School District Board of Education approved a $9,051,084 budget for the fiscal year 2021-22, beginning July 1, 2021. It is funded by a local tax rate of $1.2207 per $100 assessed value on real property within the district.

Preston Caldwell, director of schools, said it is the same rate as the previous year. The budget provides a four percent raise for all employees of the school system. The budget also includes an annual payment of $330,000 to the long-term loan.

On a separate budget is the ESSER 3.0 money allocated to the system by the federal government of $2.3 million, to be spent to respond to COVID-19. Caldwell said the funds can be used to install or enhance heating and cooling systems, and pay for nurses, school custodians, or purchase technology, or enhance the physical plant of the school, such as the removal of carpet. The funds must be spent over the next three years or forfeited. The school must present its ESSER 3.0 plan in late August for approval of the expenditures.

COVID-19 is again a concern for area school systems as the number of cases have resurged. The board approved a four-phase plan to deal with COVID-19 according to the level of spread of the virus in the community and school. Presently the school is in Phase 3 (minimal spread). Caldwell said the county of Carroll (countywide) recorded 22 positive cases for the period July 7 through 14 and 90 cases for July 21 to August 3.

Caldwell said each school district cannot operate its own virtual school as it did last year. West Carroll chose to attend school Monday to Thursday and be virtual on Fridays during the 2020-21 school year. This year, students return to the usual five-day week.

Phase 1 (High/Substantial Spread) — Schools Closed and students would revert to virtual learning.

Phase 2 (Moderate Spread) — No visitors at school with the exception of lobby, office. There would be no assembly programs, TSSAA guidelines for sports, masks would be highly encouraged. Social distancing would be practiced. Hand sanitizing stations would be set up throughout buildings. Water fountains would be used as hand-free bottle filling stations. The school would be deep cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. Employee temperature checks would be daily. Students would be checked daily for body temperatures. If the temperature is 100 degrees, the student would leave the school. If COVID is suspected, the student must be quarantined for 10 to 14 days and the last three days must be asymptomatic and fever-free without use of medication.

If a student is exposed to COVID due to exposure, the student must be tested. Masks are highly encouraged. Restrooms and all common areas will be disinfected frequently.

Also under Phase 2, pre-packaged food and beverages will be distributed to each student, students will eat breakfast in classroom, students will be seated at assigned desks, students are encouraged not to bring lunch from home. Students will sanitize hands when entering and leaving a classroom and students will walk on the right side of the hallways. For bus transportation, students will await the announcement of their bus number before leaving the classrooms.

Phase 3 (minimal spread) — The phase currently observed. Visitors are allowed at administrator’s discretion. Workers can enter with limited access and prior authorization. Masks are highly recommended. Assemblies and programs can proceed at the building administrator’s discretion. Sports will follow TSSAA guidelines. Everyone is encouraged to social distance and use the hand sanitizing stations throughout the building. Students will sanitize hands before entering and leaving an area. Schools will be deep cleaned. Employees’ temperatures will be checked daily. Students will be subject to daily temperature checks and if COVID is suspected, the student will quarantine for 10 to 14 days. If a student is exposed and is asymptomatic, the student must remain out of school and in quarantine for 10 to 14 days. Masks are encouraged, but not required.

Food-breakfast – students will be assigned seats and social distanced in the waiting line and while eating.

Students will sanitize hands when entering and exiting classrooms, desks will be sanitized when a child becomes ill in class, students will have assigned desks. Students will walk along the right side in hallways and observe social distancing. The restroom and bus policy is the same as Phase 2.

Phase 4 (low or no spread) — No restrictions.

Persons wishing to address the Board of Education while its in session must seek permission prior to the meeting and must address topics on the agenda. The Board normally has two readings (two votes) on changes to policy, however, on a motion by Patrick Lindsey, the board voted to waive the second reading.

The board approved to seek of bids for the purchase of a dish machine at the West Carroll Junior/Senior High and approval of bids to make repairs at the fieldhouse and the visitors’ side fence and walkway at the football field.

The schools’ Beta Clubs were honored for succeeding in the national Beta Club conventions in Florida. School staff members Brittany Fowler, Cindi Wilbanks, and Sally Arnold introduced the students during the meeting and told of their accomplishments.

The School Food Service Staff was honored for its commitment to serve the students meals even during the pandemic. A total of 420,719 meals were served from March 2020 to the opening of school this year.

The school board was notified of the resignations of eight professional, licensed staff members including Anthony Blackmon, Bryant Comer, Cory Essary, Wendi Ford, Kirsten Goggin, Amber Liggins, Jason Martin and Amanda Wilkes. More than 30 professional staff members have resigned since May.


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