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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
At its Wednesday, Oct. 20, meeting, Western’s school board approved the district’s plan to spend $1.82 million in the third round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III).
The lion’s share of the ESSER III funds, Western Superintendent Jessica Funk said, will be spent on improving facilities at the district’s Kinderhook and Barry campuses.
“Most of it will be spent on remodeling science labs in each building – $395,000 in one building, and $370,000 in the other,” Funk said. “We have science labs that are original to the buildings.”
An additional $652,717 will be spent to improve ventilation and air quality at the Kinderhook campus.
“We are upgrading the HVAC system at Kinderhook,” Funk said. “We used ESSER II to upgrade the HVAC in Barry.”
Additional ESSER III funds, according to Funk, will be spent on COVID-19 testing expenses, US Cellular wireless hotspots, as well as cafeteria furniture and supplies to allow for adequate social distancing.
Also approved by the board was a non-exclusive agreement with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Streaming and Pixellot Network.
The service provides cameras and a streaming platform to “broadcast” school athletic events.
Western Funk said, was prompted to enter into a contract with the streaming service, because of issues having staff available to man cameras at athletic events.
“For us it was a manpower issue,” Funk said. “Somebody has to be there to start the camera, switch the camera to each end of the court, and to shut the camera off.”
According to Funk, NFHS cameras are aligned with event schedules, and the service provides technical support as needed.
Funk was quick to point out that Western entered into a non-exclusive agreement with NFHS, which will allow local outlets to broadcast and stream Western’s athletic events.
“We had an option for an exclusive agreement, but we chose to sign the non-exclusive agreement,” Funk said.
The board also approved Funk to begin work to prepare the district’s tax levy. According to Funk, the levy will be presented in two months.
“We will present that in December,” Funk said. “We need to allow 30 days, and there isn’t enough time between the October and November meetings.”
During her superintendent’s report, Funk stated that the district was on track as far as receiving evidence based funding from the state.
To date, the district has vouchered 27 percent of the funding, and the state has sent 23 percent of the funding to the district.
In addition, Funk said that there have been a total of 12 COVID-19 exposures since the beginning of the school year. The district’s testing protocols, according to Funk, have allowed dozens of students, who would’ve otherwise have had to be quarantined at home, to remain in school.
Following closed session, the board approved the following resignations:
■ Billy Schaffer as assistant athletic director, effective Oct. 8.
■ Chevi Koeller as high school cheer sponsor, effective, Oct. 8.
■ Leslie Duncan as special education coordinator, effective Oct. 25.
■ Matt Etzler as drama sponsor, effective Oct. 18.
■ Richard Graves as bus driver, effective Oct. 13.
Also following closed session, the board approved the following appointments:
■ Alicia Smith as assistant athletic director, effective Oct. 11.
■ Lindsay Meyer as concessions manager, effective Oct. 11.
■ Bridget Cramsey as high school cheer sponsor for 2021-2022.
■ Garrick Hinch as jr. high boys basketball coach for 2021-2022.
■ Jim Erke as assistant jr. high boys basketball coach for 2021-2022.