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Like every other school district in the state, an alternative educational plan has been devised for the East Bernstadt Independent School District for the 2020-2021 school year.

Superintendent Vicki Jones presented an alternative plan to board members during a video conference meeting on Thursday, June 11, in which she said the variable calendar could be implemented. KDE has suggested planning for three options: to return to school early, to stay the same, or to return late. Jones added that the planned opening day of school for students was Aug. 6, which is the date hoped to return to school.

"With the current situation with COVID-19 pandemic, we do not plan to start earlier than Aug. 6," she said.

She added that the variable calendar would allow the 2020-2021 school year to start "the Monday closest to Aug. 26" with the variable calendar. That will place the school year requirements to the required 1,062 instructional hours rather than the 170 instructional days.

"I've only heard of one or two school systems coming back early," she told board members. "I would not recommend that. Given all the conditions that are out there right now, it becomes hard on parents, students and teachers if we have to do the distance learning for a long time."

The board chair Jim Sutton called for a vote to approve calendar options that could be implemented as more information is available concerning the pandemic. The vote passed unanimously.

Principal Susan Elza said a survey would be mailed out to parents about the variable calendar, with Sutton calling for a vote to approve said calendar. The vote passed unanimously.

The district is currently planning the last phase of construction. This will be to build a new board office. Bids were recently opened and costs calculated. Rising costs of construction materials contributed to higher bids for the construction project, raising the price budgeted by the school system by $120,0000.

That increased price was announced during the last meeting of the East Bernstadt Board of Education.

"Unfortunately our bids were a little higher than we had anticipated," Jones told board members. "It's not terribly bad, but it's about $120,000 over what we had budgeted."

Jones attributed that to shutdowns across the country from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with rising costs of supplies.

Sutton asked about the process to accept the bids, to which Jones responded that bonds for the project must be sold.

"We are still working on the details of one part of the project which is a drainage issue in the school's parking lot," Jones explained.

Board members also set aside the scheduled Superintendent evaluation process until the board can meet in person. They also set a special called meeting from the scheduled July 9 meeting until July 20.

• Approved appointment of Curtis Storm to the Personnel Evaluation Appeals Committee to replace the position previously held by Susan Elza who is now the school principal. Storm was previously an alternate, but his acceptance to the committee then resulted in Jaime Vanhook being chosen as the alternate in Storm's spot.

• Approved payroll schedule for the 2020-2021 school year, with paydates falling on the first day of each month.

• Approved food service vendors

• Approved mental health services to be shared between Intrust Health Care and Cumberland River Comprehensive Care

• Approved agreements for student teachers and student observations with University of the Cumberlands, Western Kentucky University and Eastern Kentucky University

• Approved occupational therapy services with Mrs. Hammons at $60 per hour on an "as needed" basis

• Approved changes to the student handbook, teacher handbook and substitute teacher handbooks. The changes to the student handbook involve changes in state law regarding terroristic threatening incidents and the visitor policy in light of the Coronavirus restrictions.

• Accepted resignation of Youth Service Center director Elisha Young

• Approved selling of storage units at the school that are no longer needed as surplus equipment

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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