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School Board Approves Staff Bonus Payments

Campus Improvements Modified Under New Budget Plan


Mountain View School Board approved a proposed budget last week that includes a $5,000 bonus for all school employees, as well as a scaled-back HVAC plan for Rural Special and Timbo gyms and several other facility improvements.

Board members voted 5-1 to approve the proposal, with Lori Dobbins voting “no.”
They also voted to accept a bid from Homestead Heating & Cooling for just under $100,000 for the modified HVAC projects. This will still be funded as part of the ESSER budget, as an air quality improvement.

After initially being told that the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) money provided by the government for COVID relief could not be used for bonuses, the district was recently encouraged by the state to use $1.6 million of the money for this purpose.

The state recommended a one-time bonus of $5,000 for teachers and $2,500 for classified staff. Administrators had planned a number of projects for the remaining ESSER money, including portable classroom buildings at all campuses and HVAC at the two gyms, with bids on just theHVAC project coming in around $600,000.

With decisions to make on how to spend the money, Supt. Brent Howard conducted a survey of staff at all three campuses, asking whether they favored a “one-time bonus” or “continue with progress.”
Howard reported to the board Sept. 1 that 73 percent of staff districtwide voted for the bonus, while 27 percent voted for “progress.”

At Mountain View, 83 percent voted for the bonus and 17 percent for progress, while at Timbo it was 68 percent for the bonus and 32 percent for progress.
Only at Rural Special did the majority, 72 percent, vote for progress, with 28 percent for the bonus.

Finance Coordinator Cindy Smith presented a modified list of projects that will accompany the bonuses in the revised ESSER budget. They include a four-classroom modular building at MVHS, a two-classroom building at Rural Special, outdoor classrooms at each campus, and thefood pantry building at Mountain View.

Also included are the epoxy in all bathrooms and air-conditioned buses that were previously approved.

Read the full story in the Sept. 7  issue.

Stone County Leader, Mountain View AR, school finance


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