The Regular/Final Budget meeting of the Yaak School Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairperson, Pam Fuqua, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday August 18, 2021 at the Yaak School. Pam opened the meeting, welcomed visitors and stated that the meeting was being recorded.
Trustees Present: Pam Fuqua, Trish Lauer and Sandy Beder-Miller
Others Present: Diane Downey, District Clerk, Sabre Alderete, Head Teacher, Bill Sullivan, LeeAnn Sanders, Mike Sanders, Bob Goodwin, Larry Miller, Clayton Rockwell, Mandy Nelson, Dave Nelson, Pam, Rockwell, Dori Goodwin, Dave Gambill, Roberta McCread, Tracy McCread, Raymond McCread, Desiree Hayes, and Lynsey Bartlett
The minutes from the July 26, 2021, board meeting was presented. Pam stated that the Trustees had reviewed them, and no changes were needed and asked if the public cared to see them. Trish moved that the July minutes be accepted as presented, Sandy seconded, and Pam concurred.
Trustees Financial Summary:
Diane explained to the public what the TFS was for those that did not know. A detailed review of the 2021TFS was done and Diane answered questions that arose. Diane called for a motion to accept the TFS as presented. Sandy made the motion to accept the TFS as presented, Tish seconded, and Pam concurred. (Copy available upon request)
21-22 Final Budgets:
Diane went over all the budget details for the General Fund $102,922.35, Transportation Fund $651.00, Retirement Fund $10,604.12, Technology $413.32, Flexibility Fund $1,042.67 and the Building Reserve Fund $47,105.59. Total budgeted funding amount is $162,739.05. It was asked if anyone had any questions, there were none. Diane called for a motion to accept the budget for the 21-22 SY as presented. Trish so moved, Sandy seconded, and Pam concurred. Budget and TFS were signed by Pam and will be submitted by Diane after the meeting.
- Trish reported on her progress on the Lead Testing Program. The public will be notified once testing results are back from the lab.
- Sabre’ has gone over minor maintenance things that need to be addressed once the Foundation Project is complete.
- September 3rd and 4th the school will hold a silent/virtual auction. If anyone has something they would like to donate, please contact Sabre’ or Angelo Alderete. Their contact information can be found on the School Facebook page and School website. Items will be posted on the school website and the public can view items at the Rod and Gun Club as well. In person bidding and online bidding will be available. The question was asked, what are the funds being raised for? Proceeds from this fundraising event are earmarked for special Student Activities and Field Trips.
- Diane reported on the process for our Point-to-Point Microwave Internet Project. It was asked why we had not pursued StarLink as a provider and Diane stated that as StarLink is not yet an E-Rate vendor which means we would not be able to apply for our discount from E-Rate for their services.
- Sabre’ stated that the new laptops are ready to use in the classroom.
- Pam reported on the progress and new findings on the Foundation Project. The new findings have increased the cost and the length of time the project will take. The Board has secured the use of the Rod and Gun Club as a temporary classroom until such a time that we can move back into the school. It was asked what internet service if any would be available at the temporary location. Sabre’ stated that the school will be using her StarLink internet service, which will also provide her access to her cell phone for communication in case of emergency and a way to keep in touch with parents and the public. Someone from the audience asked if the presence of lead pipes would be addressed during this project. Trish stated that the issue, if found, would not come from pipes but from old fixtures and no that would not be something that would be determined during this project.
- The draft of the ESSER ARP Plan was distributed to the public. Diane explained what ESSER Funds were available to the school and the process by which those funds could be applied for and what each pool of funding could be used for. To apply for ESSER III funds the school must submit a plan to the Office of Public Instruction explaining how we intend to spend the funds. This plan must follow the guidelines set by the federal government and be approved by OPI prior to applying for the funds. The deadline for this plan is August 24th and the Board will be meeting later in the day to work on the final draft. Albeit a daunting task, the board feels it is worth the effort as it will allow us to address issues that we would otherwise be unable to address without this funding.
At this time the public questions and responses where impossible to keep track of. If you would like to hear all questions, comments and responses please contact the District Clerk and she can set a time for you to listen to the recording of the meeting in its entirety. What follows is a brief overview of questions and responses:
Visitor Question: What do you have to do to be eligible for the funding? Is there a health requirement or regulation? Sabre’ answered by giving a detailed overview of our ARP plan, the setting of goals and priorities relating to making up for learning loss and reducing risks of future educational disruption due to an outbreak of Covid or other illness.
Visitor Question: Are they going to require masks or social distancing to get this money?
Answer: No. But we did have to develop and post our “Safe Return to School” plan as a first step in applying for the funding. We posted last year’s plan in June and will soon be updating it for this year’s plan of how we will keep the students healthy and safe.
Sandy: Do we have to have the 1900 series of policies in place to receive this funding? Answer was inconclusive, discussion turned to whether we need this money and what it can be spent for.
General discussion of how the grant process works and how we intend to spend the funds and how this aligns with our ARP plan. Clarification of why we are looking at ESSER grant for windows and that these are not included in current work being done.
Visitor question on the topic of ventilation: Do we know the cost? Do we know the type of system we need to adequately exchange air? We are early in the bid process and will take these suggestions into consideration.
ESSER II funding will go primarily toward improving air quality through installation of new windows and an HVAC system. ESSER III funds will be used for making up for learning loss, funding our SPED Coop, overflow infrastructure costs as needed, and other instructional needs.
Visitor Comment: Psychological harm to the community from Covid came primarily from mask wearing. Expressed concern about the condition of masks the kids were wearing outside of school and the effectiveness of mask wearing. Sabre’ described masking practices that were in place last year with kids getting new masks every day and throughout the day as needed.
Pam encouraged Visitor to inform the school of any concerns they have about the effect of the school’s practices on the community, either by coming to the meetings or calling.
Visitor question: Are you mandating masks again this year? Pam stated there is no mandating of masks this year, but this may change if conditions change, or public health policy requires it. At this time, our policy will show that masks are optional.
Visitor question: If masks are required and I do not want my child to wear a mask, what then?
Answer: The child would be taught via distance learning.
Visitor comment: Masks are not effective and hardly anyone dies from Covid.
Visitor comment: Hard to teach young children when mouths are covered. How would we address this?
Sabre’ answered that we have masks with clear shields in front of the mouth and the students can wear face shields.
Visitor comment: Her child has hearing loss, mask wearing makes it hard for her to hear what is being said. Sabre’ answered that she can provide a device to amplify her voice so the child can better hear her.
Pam added that for special needs students, allowances can be made to assure the child is educated.
General discussion on the fact that although we will start school with no mask mandate, this could change, depending on Lincoln County Health Department reports of covid cases and directives.
Visitor comments: Yaak is its own community and should not depend on Lincoln County stats. The fact that we may change this policy based on what is happening in another part of the county is an issue, a psychological issue. One parent of students expressed that their children did not have a problem with wearing masks last year. If things escalate this year and they must wear masks she is ok with it.
Another parent of students expressed that their child does not like wearing a mask and if they are required, her children will not be attending school. General discussion of effectiveness of masks, visitor expressed concern that children cannot learn well with masks.
Visitor question: Who will be having contact with the kids during the school day? Sabre’ described who will be teaching or having contact with the kids.
Visitor comment: People come to Yaak to avoid being told what to do.
Visitor comment: Personal responsibility should be the main driver of mask wearing. If kids get Covid it is not serious.
Visitor policy was discussed. Visitors are now allowed in the school by appointment with the teacher. Sabre’ added that parents may also view the classroom via Zoom.
Visitor comment: The board should be careful about making decisions about masks based on case rates from the county. They also, encouraged the board to keep the public informed.
General discussion of how to keep the public informed. Visitors were encouraged to get on Diane’s email list and to attend board meetings. Diane will send minutes to those on the email list.
- Sabre’ reported on the update of the school calendar.
- Pam reminded the audience that school will be held at the Gun Club until the School is ready for classes to resume on campus.
- Sabre’ has made the needed changes to the Fire/Emergency drill schedule to accommodate the calendar changes.
- Sabre reported on the State test results. She is so proud of how her students performed this past year.
- Sabre’ reviewed her Safe Return to School and Continuity of Services Plan. The plan can be viewed on the school website. https://yaakschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2021-2022-SY-Yaak-School-District-Model-Safe-Return-to-Schools-and-Continuity-of-Services-Plan-.pdf
Clerk’s Report, Financials & Expenditures:
- Diane reviewed the grant funds we will be receiving for the 21-22 school year. She asked that the board and Sabre’ make budgeting plans for the Title IA, Title IIA, and Title IVA funds. She will email them the acceptable use guidelines for each program. Budgeting information will need to be completed by mid-October as the deadline for submission and approval by the State for the ESEA Consolidated Grant application is October 31st. (see attached for detail)
- Diane asked one of the parents that was present to stop by the school after the meeting so she can complete her transportation contracts.
- Diane reported that she had gotten a JV adjustment backwards in her June Financials that caused fund 101 and 115 to be reported incorrectly. She is working with the Treasurer to get this reversed and it will be corrected in the July Financials.
- July reports have not yet been received from the Treasurer. Diane reviewed the detailed expenditures for the months of July and August to date. (See attached for detail)
- Policy 1905 was reviewed, and the needed changes were discussed that will work with our reopening plan. Sabre’ suggested that we have a waiver that the parent could sign to opt out of the 3-foot distancing option in our plan. There was much discussion about social distancing. The board chose Option 1 under social distancing in the MTSBA policy and added the requirement of a waiver if you did not wish your student to be required to social distance. Masking section was looked at and the option for masks being optional was chosen. Trish will send these changes to Diane so she can update the policy. There was a request that this policy be available once the update was completed. Diane stated that she would send the requesting party a copy via email as soon as the update was done.
Next Regular Meeting: September 15, 2021 @ 4:10 p.m.
Meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
_______________________________ Diane Downey, District Clerk
________________________________ Pam Fuqua, Chair
________________________________ Trish Lauer, Vice Chair
________________________________ Sandy Beder-Miller, Board Trustee