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South Range to remain in classrooms, prep for remote

CANFIELD– South Range schools will remain open for as long as possible, with no immediate plans to return to remote learning.

At the school board meeting this week, Superintendent Bethany Carlson reported the administration is working closely with staff members to prepare for possibly moving online, but the community has been extremely responsible during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said possible exposure of students and staff has been reported in a timely manner and any issues have been addressed immediately to prevent problems before they occur.

“Everyone wants to be (in school) and right now that’s our goal,” Carlson said, encouraged community members to think about their actions in their lives and consider how it will affect others.

In related business, the board increased the floating substitute pay to $100 for the school year retroactive to Nov. 2 and approved as floating substitutes for the second semester Christian Silvestri, Christine Horton, Nycole Barkett, Patricia Schaal, Richard Hura, Matt Giambattista, Denise Kosek.

Carlson noted that other districts in the area hired their floating substitutes at a higher rate and a couple of the district’s substitutes left for the other districts.

In other business, the board adopted the five-year financial forecast presented by Treasurer Jim Phillips that shows a cash balance $2.9 million at the end of 2021 before falling into a deficit in the fourth year, finishing at just over $1.1 million and falling to nearly $3.65 million at the end of the fifth. The forecast also includes deficit spending throughout, starting at $181,292 the first year and falling to nearly $2.55 million in the final one.

Phillips said the forecast is conservative due to the uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted the lower costs because of school closure last year are projected out, but will go back up with the return of the costs this year.

The board also purchased a new 72 passenger conventional school bus from Myers Equipment Co. for $86,040, including the trade-in of two buses; approved the High School Ski Club for 2020-2021 pending release due to COVID-19 restrictions, with Ken Kuzior as an unpaid volunteer advisor; and granted permission for the high school band to travel to Orlando, Fla., March 23-28, 2022, to perform at Disneyland. The trip will be chaperoned and transportation provided by a licensed motor coach company.

Also at the meeting the board granted a one-year limited educational aide contract to Diana Hatszegi effective Nov. 2; accepted the resignation of Nicole Lester as a long term substitute effective Nov. 25; approved the memorandum of understanding of Shari Lewis’ contract from 210 days to 230 days at her per diem rate retroactive to Aug. 1; terminated the contract of technology assistant George McDowell effective Nov. 17; and hired George McDowell as a custodial assistant.

The board also granted supplemental contract for 2020-2021 to Brady White for boys seventh-grade basketball and approved as volunteer coaches John Richardson for wrestling and Ross Lanzo for freshman boy’s basketball.

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