Eldred readies to open schools

In-school classes delayed by two weeks

By SUSAN WADE
Posted 8/19/20

ELDRED, NY — Further refining plans for the start of the school year, superintendent Dr. John Morgano recommended to the Board of Education that Eldred teach virtually until Friday, September …

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Eldred readies to open schools

In-school classes delayed by two weeks

Posted

ELDRED, NY — Further refining plans for the start of the school year, superintendent Dr. John Morgano recommended to the Board of Education that Eldred teach virtually until Friday, September 25. The first group of students would then report to the physical classroom on Monday, September 28. 

The first day of virtual teaching will be Thursday, September 10 following two teacher in-service days to refine classroom protocols and technology testing. 

Students will alternate in-class and online learning on a weekly basis. During the online learning, students must be at the Chromebooks and ready for their lesson at the same time as if they were in school. 

Said Morgano, “The decision to extend the virtual learning for all students until [September 25] was made with the safety of our students as the first priority. Extending virtual learning also provides additional familiarity with the technology for both the teachers and the students.” 

District treasurer Caleb Russell received approval to pursue re-funding of a $5,155,000 of bonds that remain outstanding and are due in installments each year to 2025, to take advantage of low lending rates. Russell estimated that the annual savings, after fees, would exceed $50,000 each of the remaining years. 

Reporting on the fiscal year just ended, Russell declared that it was an excellent fiscal year, and that after the year-end audit is complete, he anticipates that between $400,000 to $500,000 will be added to the fund balance. 

Russell confirmed that spending due to the COVID-19 crisis is expected to total about $500,000 of which $200,000 has already been expended. The total runs the gamut from cleaning supplies to improvements to the air filtration systems in both schools. The district has a four-month supply of safety and cleaning equipment on hand and is in the process of ordering the additional needed amounts. “Safety is not cheap but it’s necessary,” he said. 

Russell said that the district will receive $172,000 in federal aid but that state aid was reduced by the same amount. At this time it’s not known whether that decrease in state aid is part of the 20 percent across-the-board reduction in state aid or in addition to that previously announced decrease. He also reported that the Millenium Pipeline Company is contesting the assessed value of the compressor station. 

The tax warrant was approved by the board and a new tax collector was hired. Also approved was a billet for an additional elementary school teacher. It was reported that enrollment for pre-K is currently 18 and Kindergarten is currently 30. 

In other business, Scott Krebs is to serve as district instructional support resource with a stipend of $76.18 per hour, in addition to his duties as elementary school principal. For the current school year, these additional costs will be funded by a Targeted Schools Improvement Plan grant. 

Several parents were in attendance. One parent asked whether the hiring of Krebs in this position would serve as a resource for her children. The position is to provide support to faculty in the quest to improve academic outcomes and integrate new curriculum in math and seventh- and eighth-grade science. 

Other inquiries from parents focused on classroom protocols, social and emotional health needs, bandwidth capacity and the plan for athletics, which have been delayed and will include no contact sports in the fall.

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