Monday evening, the Maury County School Board met for a work session to go over many items on a nine-page agenda. The meeting was conducted on Zoom and made available to the public. At the call to order, there were approximately 25-28 people in attendance.
CARES Act Funding
One of the most discussed agenda items was the awaited update on the CARES Act Funding, labeled 3.2.3 on the agenda. Some of the board members were hoping to attend a webinar with information on the CARES Act and what to expect. However, the webinar had been postponed. This leaves the Board with more questions than answers, and the deadline of June 15 to apply is fast approaching. It is estimated that MCPS will receive 2.1 million with approximately $180,000 of that amount going to 2 private schools.
Big Decisions, Little Info
At this point, a decision needs to be made as to how school will look in the fall and whether students will return full time, continue distance learning, or a hybrid of the two. Without knowing the details of the CARES Act funding, the School Board members must consider funding for all those options. If students return to school, allocations for things like additional cleaning supplies will be needed. Yet, if kids need to move into distance learning, they will need electronics such as laptops and tablets. As mentioned in another point of the meeting, not all teachers have laptop computers, which would hinder their ability to teach whether in the classroom or via distance learning.
Internet in Rural Areas
One concern for distance learning that did not come up was the fact that not all students in the county have access to the internet. While service providers like Charter offered free service when schools closed in March, that does little to help students in the more rural areas in Maury County that those providers do not cover. The school district made individual schools WiFi points; however, kids with parents who work during the day, are left without a way to access the internet.
Several board members expressed a desire to focus on what the students need for their education regardless of how much funding comes from the CARES Act. It was made clear by Board Member David Moore, that it is important to not decide what the students need based on the amount of funding received solely from the CARES Act.
Mental Health and Trauma Care
Board Member Chad Howell inquired as to how the district will handle supporting students’ mental health in the fall. It was noted that they are already working on an MOU with a group to provide support to students.
School Board Faces the Fall
Hopefully they will be able to attend the training sooner than later and get more insight to aid in their planning. Unfortunately, many decisions need to be made with so much still unknown about what the rest of the summer will bring regarding this virus.
Be sure to check out our post with more info on other meetings. Several were held Monday night, inducing the Maury County Commission.