MCPS board ‘reluctantly’ uses pandemic funds for CVC replacement

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The Maury County School Board has approved the use of more than $ 6 million in coronavirus relief funds to replace heating and cooling units at three elementary schools in the county, with some board members sharing concerns about the plan.

At its monthly meeting in December, the board approved the use of $ 2.1 million in relief funds to replace HVAC systems at Spring Hill Elementary School, $ 1.9 million at Elementary School Mt. Pleasant and $ 1.9 million at Riverside Elementary School.

“We privatized these three items because they’re complete replacements that you can’t put together,” said Eric Perryman, assistant superintendent of school district facilities.

Following:Scientific texts in limbo in Maury County schools

Plan reviewed by members of the Board of Directors

Despite the funding approval, some board members shared concerns about using the relief funds for maintenance repairs rather than directly funding academic initiatives.

“I feel like we missed an opportunity to spend money on academics,” said David Moore, board member. “I would like to be offered something to spend $ 6 million on this. At this point, having seen nothing that has been presented to us at this point, I will reluctantly agree to spend the money. for HVAC because we have the money and we have the needs.

David Moore, vice chairman of the Maury County Board of Education, attends a school board meeting at Horace O. Porter School in Columbia, Tenn. On Monday, July 20, 2020.

School board member Kristen Parker also raised concerns over the school administration’s decision to prioritize funds for school facilities.

“We don’t have a plan for academics,” Parker said. “We know that we have students who don’t have textbooks today and who started on August 1. I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen next year. That’s all I ask. I just want to be sure that next August every student will have the textbook they need.

Assistant superintendent of academics Scott Gains said state-level changes have removed the process of acquiring new texts from the school system.

“We want to make sure we have everything we need,” Gaines said. “It’s a big task. We don’t want to order them at random.

Parker said relief funds had been offered to the district.

Following:“Huge” Progress: Academic Growth in Maury County Improves Despite Pandemic Setbacks

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“We’ve never spent so much money on textbooks,” Parker said. “We should have. I hope there is a responsibility. These kids don’t need to have months in a row without their books because we haven’t planned and we haven’t done our own thing. job.

She said that in her seven years on the board, the board had not received a long-term plan for the acquisition of textbooks.

Moore backed Parker’s concerns, calling on the school administrator to start moving forward.

“If we ever have a moment with a few extra pounds sitting on our own and it doesn’t matter, that moment is now,” Moore said. “We just don’t need someone to start the year without a book at this point. There is no excuse for this with the amount of money that has flowed through this school system. “

Considering that the school district has received more than $ 30 million in pandemic relief funds, he said the situation “just doesn’t make sense.”

“This is a time when we can put that aside and not worry about it,” Moore said.

Where do MCPS pandemic relief funds go?

8-year-old Mason McMaham uses a 3Doodler pen at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School on Friday, March 13, 2020.

The funds come from a third round of $ 18.1 million in financial support distributed to the public school district through the Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

In total, the school district has received approximately $ 30 million in pandemic relief funds distributed by state and federal governments.

Following:How are schools in Maury County using ESSER funds?

With program funds, the school district also plans to use $ 2.1 million to hire 20 additional licensed teachers for the 2021-2022 school year and 15 positions the following year to reduce class sizes in the school year. district to mitigate the learning loss caused by extended periods outside the classroom due to the pandemic.

The pandemic relief funding will also provide students with $ 25 to purchase additional school equipment and supplies for the next school year.

An additional $ 1 million is expected to be used to establish a “Grow Your Own” program to support professionals working in the school district with their university studies and teaching licenses.

The program will cover tuition, salary, benefits, exam fees, books and materials.

The district will also use $ 3.9 million to purchase materials for students in all grades who need additional materials for preparation for the ACT test.

Contact Mike Christen at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MikeChristenCDH and on Instagram at @michaelmarco. Please consider supporting his work and that of other Daily Herald journalists by subscribing to the publication.


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