Southwestern Jefferson County Consolidated Schools is scheduled to receive $2,227,633.20 from the American Rescue Act, the third phase of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund provided by the federal government, Superintendent Jeffrey Bates reported at Monday’s school board meeting.
He said 20% of that amount, about $445,526.60, must be used to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions such as summer school and after-school programs to address the academic health and social emotional well-being of students impacted during the pandemic.
“We are in the preliminary stages of deciding just exactly what we will spend the ESSER III monies on, and prioritizing things that will have the greatest and longest lasting impact,” Bates said.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board:
• Opened the meeting with a moment of silence in memory of Carroll Ray “Dutch” Kleopfer, who died at age 87 on April 24. Kleopfer had served on Southwestern school board for 12 years, drove a Southwestern school bus for 41 years and was a longtime supporter of Southwestern athletics and 2018 inductee in the Southwestern Athletics Hall of Fame.
“He was a lifelong supporter of Southwestern,” said Southwestern board chairman Rick Stockdale.
• Accepted the retirement of three elementary teachers after a combined 102 years as educators. Julie Bell is retiring after 36 years, Laura Chitwood after 34 years and Beth Truesdell after 32 years.
Shannon Dattilo also resigned as elementary teacher to take a position on the education faculty at Ivy Tech State College-Madison campus. “Thank you for allowing me to work here for 24 years,” Dattilo said. “I have been blessed to work beside amazingly talented administrators, teachers and support staff.”
Other resignations included Doug Rusk as social studies teacher and Tracey Thomas-Cloyd as physical education teacher, along with Jessica Barr as bus matron, Connie Dietrich as evening shift custodian and Denise Brierly as elementary cook.
• Hired Stephanie Brawner as middle school counselor and Carol Brooks as elementary teacher. Cindy Myers was hired as transportation for displaced students. Also, Laura Scroggins was named elementary and middle school robotics sponsor, and will share middle school spell bowl and math bowl spell sponsor duties with Stephanie Schindler.
• Approved a lease agreement for Hanover College to use the Southwestern pool from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 at a cost of $35,000. The college uses the facility for its men’s and women’s swim teams. Laura Cash Boldery, assistant to the superintendent/corporation treasurer, said the money goes into operations with most of it back into the pool budget. Bates estimated that maintenance on the pool costs from $5,000 to $6,000 monthly.
• Approved transferring up to $500,000 from the education fund to the operations fund. Boldery noted that cash flow is currently low, and the transfer will provides cash for the operations until funds from property taxes are received at the end of June.
• Accepted the low bid of $60,787 from Scottsburg Glass to replace 22 windows at Southwestern Elementary School so that work can be done over the summer. “We have been getting windows replaced as we have money one section at a time,” said Boldery, noting this will complete that project and “make a lot elementary teachers happy.”
• Awarded a bid to replace lights in the high school parking lot with LEDs to North Electric Inc. of Scottsburg, the lowest bidder at $14,000. The other bid was from Miller Electric LLC at $14,875.
• Awarded a bid to repair condensing coils and replace a fan motor on a high school air conditioning unit to Alpha Energy Solutions for $12,340. Another bid was received from Circle R. Mechanical of Columbus for $19,635.83.
• Approved contract extensions for four administrators — Matt Owens, high school principal; Robert Adams, elementary school principal; Krista Chatham, assistant elementary school principal; and Tom Scroggins, athletic director.