Crawford Schools to go virtual during ‘cool-down’ week
By Chris Adams, Contributing Writer
Meeting virtually through the Zoom video conferencing platform, the Crawford County Community School Corp. Board of Trustees last Tuesday evening voted to have all classes meet online the week of Nov. 30 through Dec. 4.
Superintendent Mike Key said the corporation will use that week as a “cool-down period” following Thanksgiving in order to protect the health of students and faculty members.
“This gives us a little more than a week if people happen over their Thanksgiving holiday to not do very well with regard to distancing and masking up and that sort of thing,” he said. “It gives us a buffer, and, hopefully, sacrificing that week will gain us the two weeks remaining before Christmas.”
Trustee Lance Stroud asked Key what would happen if the coronavirus situation worsens and the county moves to red (the fourth of four stages as outlined by the Indiana Department of Health). As of last Wednesday, Crawford County was orange (the third of the four stages).
“If we’re on code red,” Key answered, “what we will do at that point in time is consult with the county health officer and our two nurses and sit down and establish a plan for the best interest of our community.”
Following a motion by Trustee Myrna Sanders that was seconded by Stroud, the board voted 6-0 (Trustee Dennis Talley was absent) to approve Key’s recommendation.
The board also voted 6-0 to pass a resolution and to continue efforts to secure financing regarding the proposed Federal Emergency Management Agency safe room project.
Lisa Gehlhausen of Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission said the corporation is applying for a grant from FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure in Communities program. She noted the sub-application was due to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security last Friday and, if the state approves, they’ll forward it to FEMA in January.
“The school corporation probably won’t hear until late summer whether you’re awarded a grant or not,” she said.
Gehlhausen said the total cost of the project, which will also include an auxiliary gymnasium, is $9.1 million. Due to some items — like basketball goals and bleachers — being ineligible, the grant application is for $7.8 million, she said. However, the grant requires a 25% local match, meaning the amount awarded from FEMA would be approximately $5.9 million. Including the ineligible items, Crawford County’s local share would be about $3.2 million.
Asked by board members if that number is consistent with earlier projections and if the corporation would have any problems paying it, Key said everything looks good.
“We got outstanding news from our bond counsel. There’s no issue whatsoever,” he said, adding the project will not require a tax increase.
In other business, the board:
Approved, 6-0, Key’s recommendation to give support and Title I staff a 2% pay increase and administrative staff a $1,000 annual raise. The superintendent’s secretary also is to receive a $2 hourly increase for doing the Medicaid billing and training paraprofessional staff who are now required to take a test. The increases went into effect Monday.
Voted 6-0 to approve an updated corporation employment application.
Voted 6-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:
—The retirement of Larry Ingle as head custodian at West Crawford Elementary School.
—The resignation of Sarai Ramos as Spanish teacher at Crawford County High School.
—CCHS Principal Brandon Johnson’s recommendation of Julie Adams as the summer volley coach.
—Crawford County Middle School Principal Brandy Stroud’s recommendation of Whitney Schwartz at the sixth-grade cheer coach.
—East Crawford Elementary School Principal Tarra Carothers’ recommendation of Kristy Grider as part-time remediation aid.
—South Crawford Elementary School Principal Amy Etienne’s recommendations of Jessica Humphrey as part-time library aid and Marilyn Talcott as part-time mild intervention aid.
—Assistant Superintendent Jamie Smith’s recommendation of an addendum of 6.8 miles for bus driver Alice Walker due to adding a student in the Valeene area of Orange County to her route.