Board Of Ed Discusses Budget, Policies, COVID

The Board of Education got good news at last night’s meeting: Health insurance costs came in lower than expected for the past year. That’s a potential savings of $285,000 for the district.

In addition, the cafeteria fund’s full year operating loss — originally estimated at $600,000 — has been reduced to $406,000.

Brian Fullenbaum reports that the board also decided not to ask the RTM to restore $235,363 cut from their budget request by the Board of Finance. The lower cafeteria fund operating loss could offset that reduction, if the finance board approves.

Staples High School cafeteria. (Photo courtesy of Inklings)

The Board of Ed did approve a motion for future years: to request a 3% annual budget increase from the RTM.

The board also discussed policy updates, including possession of deadly weapons or firearms, and broadening the current anti-discrimination policy to include “hate.” Future discussions will include the use of gender-neutral pronouns.

A motion to approve policies involving Automatic External Defibrillators, a security and safety plan, and social media was approved.

Assistant superintendent John Bayers noted that by state law, the Board of Ed must provide notice of non-renewal to certified staff no later than May 1. A few staff members on 1-year contracts, to help out because of COVID, have already been notified of non-renewal. Others will be notified soon.

Supervisor of health services Suzanne Levasseur reported that in the past 2 weeks, 30 students in the district were diagnosed with COVID. Half of the faculty who were vaccinated at the district’s clinics are considered fully vaccinated, while over 150 seniors have registered for the upcoming clinic.

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