The Burton School Board discussed further preparations for the upcoming school year and proposed a new tax rate at its meeting Monday.
Elementary and High School Principals Melinda Fuchs and Matthew Wamble went over the expected percentage of students that will be on campus for instruction when school starts next Thursday, August 20th. Fuchs said 75 percent of elementary school students will do face-to-face learning, while Wamble said roughly 80 percent of high school students are preparing to come to the classroom.
Fuchs and Wamble also shared that 22 students in elementary and 20 in high school are in need of a hot spot for remote learning. Superintendent Dr. Edna Kennedy said the district previously purchased 75 hot spots, so it is expecting to allocate 42 to students. She noted that hot spots will be distributed to the families in need, so students could end up sharing them. Hot spots will also be given to teachers who need them should they go remote.
A drive-thru Meet the Teacher event will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. at Burton Elementary School and Burton High School. At the event, students can drop off their school supplies and pick up schedules while greeting their new teachers.
Dr. Kennedy stated during her report that the district’s enrollment numbers have increased, and she is now expecting the district to start the new year with 495 students, up from the previously planned total of 477.
After an all-day staff development day on Monday in which faculty went through public health orders and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Kennedy said she was happy to see that teachers and staff were “on board” with the district’s COVID-19 prevention efforts. She said some school districts in the area are having staff quit after seeing what is required of them, but Burton ISD has not experienced that. She said this situation will require everyone to work together and “be a part of the team” to keep schools clean and everyone inside them protected.
Dr. Kennedy also announced that the district received a donation of a few hundred face masks made by Sue Pinkerton and her sister. The district will have disposable masks, cloth masks, and face shields to distribute to teachers; students will be asked to bring their own masks, but the district will have some masks available to give to them. The district has also installed hand sanitizer dispensers in every classroom and in other locations across the campuses. She said the district should soon receive water filling stations to substitute for the closed-down water fountains, and is looking into inexpensive options for desk dividers.
The board also proposed a tax rate of $1.0413 per $100 valuation, made up of 96.64 cents for maintenance and operations (M&O) and 7.49 cents for debt service (I&S). The rate is slightly less than last year’s rate of $1.0449 per $100, which consisted of an M&O rate of 97 cents and an I&S rate of 7.49 cents. The board set a public meeting date of August 27th at 6 p.m. to further discuss the tax rate and budget for the new year.
Trustees then met in executive session to discuss personnel and district safety and security. No action was taken on those items, or on agenda items pertaining to staff incentive pay and office safety upgrades.
Also at Monday's meeting, the board:
- approved the sale of a Ford 4000 tractor and 2001 school bus for $561 and $111 respectively, after going out for bids.
- approved revisions to the order for a school board election for the positions currently held by Ande Bostain, Felton Cox, and Misty Lucherk, along with election procedures and the appointment of election officials. The election was postponed earlier this year from May 2nd to November 3rd.
- approved changes to the employee and student handbooks, along with changes to board policy concerning the honoring of graduates.