| Contributing writer
For some time, the board has discussed the need to construct a new elementary school, which would serve pupils currently attending Page and Lincoln.
“We are allowed to bond up to $26 million by law. It doesn’t mean that’s what will be spent. Think of it kind of like our ‘credit limit’…like a credit card,” Superintendent Julie Trepa explained.
The goal is to get the elementary school bond issue on the ballot in March 2021.
The Boone School District overspent $1,294,468.88 on special education for school year 2019-2020.
“Special education has never been fully funded by the federal government or state governments, so it’s very typical for school districts to overspend to be able to meet the needs of the students,” Trepa noted.
Due to COVID-19, the district couldn’t claim Medicaid for 26 percent of the school year, according to Mitch Lewis, director of business services.
The concept of therapeutic classrooms was discussed.
“A ‘therapeutic classroom’ means a classroom designed for the purpose of providing support for any student whose emotional, social, or behavioral needs interfere with the student’s ability to be successful in the current educational environment, with or without supports, until the student is able to successfully return to the student’s current education environment, with or without supports, including but not limited to, the general education classroom,” Trepa said.
The legislature appropriated $1,582,650.00 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022, for the establishment of therapeutic classrooms. Grants will be awarded based on a competitive process, equitably across small, medium and large school districts, prioritizing programs serving the most students and based on the following allocations, Trepa explained:
- Classrooms with one to five pupils (state cost per pupil x 1.5 x 5)
- Classrooms with six to ten pupils (state cost per pupil x 1.5 x 10)
- Classrooms with eleven to fifteen pupils (state cost per pupil x 1.5 x 15)
The Department will issue detailed information and guidance regarding the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Grant as part of the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Grant Program application. Grant funds must be distributed before the first day of school.
In other business, Dr. Jill Janes, BCSD equity coordinator, updated the board on the results of the recent FAST Data Review. All students in grades K-8 participated in FAST reading and math screening assessments from Sept. 21 to Oct. 9, 2020. FAST assessments are later statistically correlated with success on standardized comprehension measures, such as the ACT. Those individuals who haven’t arrived at the FAST benchmarks are monitored on a weekly basis. Janes said students who read to their teachers via computer screens (distance learning) might not necessarily be deficient in literacy due to low scores, but rather, benefit more from in-person interaction.
The board heard a presentation about Apptegy, which would enhance the district’s communication technology with the implementation of a new app and revamped website. Parents and guardians would be able to download the app free of cost, to stay up-to-date on Toreador news and happenings. The app and new website would cost $11,500, based on approximately 2,000 students in the district. It would be paid through Title IV funds. Further discussion on purchasing Apptegy was tabled until the next meeting.
The board will hold a public work session at 5 p.m. on Oct. 26 in person and via Zoom.
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