By Joel Washburn
McKENZIE (Feb. 2) – The McKenzie Special School District is proposing a major upgrade to its environmental heating and cooling systems, upgrading Chromebooks and monitors in the classroom, and funding an interventionist and educational assistant through federal funding known as ESSER 2.0
School districts across the country are receiving ESSER 2.0 funding. The Primary and Secondary School Emergency Fund is designed to help schools resolve learning losses in students, including through assessment, evidence-based activities, parent engagement, tracking attendance, and improving student engagement due to the adverse effects of COVID-19.
McKenzie Special School District will receive $ 1,113,420.28. Headmistress Lynn Watkins said he, the education director, principals and maintenance staff had made a list of the school’s needs and how the funds could be used. Watkins presented the list of items to members of the Education Committee on February 2. The deadline for filing the application is March 1, Watkins said. It is up to the grantor to determine the eligibility of the expenditure requested.
The wish list includes: a food service freezer, $ 20,000; Virtual School Seats: $ 115,000; Replace older heating / air units in all three schools, $ 60,000; McKenzie Middle School gyms – 1954 Gym and 1963 McKenzie Elementary School – $ 350,000 air conditioning; Desktops in all three libraries replace $ 41,615; All teachers can get new, improved Chromebook laptops for $ 42,800. Flat Panel Televisions in Remaining Classrooms: $ 136,000; new and replacement student Chromebooks – with charging carts – $ 204,000; nine scanners for SPED (Special Education) teachers – $ 2,961; one-year apprenticeship contract with an educational interventionist $ 25,200; One-Year Educational Assistant Contract $ 24,500; three $ 1,500 Family Inclusion Coordinator Scholarships $ 13,500; 1,300 extended contract hours for tutoring and schooling $ 38,000; Summer School Transportation: $ 2,500; two years of IXL software for RTI interventions $ 21,372; Ingenuity for Credit Recovery and Summer School for Two Summers, $ 21,700.
The list also includes an opportunity to upgrade locker rooms at McKenzie Middle School.
Board members Karen Fowler and Misty Aird said the locker rooms were in poor condition and lacked privacy.
Chairman Jon Davis said the school was planning to upgrade the locker rooms. An emergency roof of 1 million US dollars at MMS, however, took away the funds for upgrades.
The board plans to tour the school facilities to assess the needs of the buildings. McKenzie High School’s debt will retire in two years, eliminating all of MSSD’s long-term debt.
Fowler said McKenzie Elementary School should be canceled. The white brick building, built in 1963, needs updating. She had a preliminary offer to paint the building from a Paris contractor. The board postponed any discussion of building improvements until their passage inspection on Saturday. February 27, 8 a.m.