As the school year moves closer to the finish, the Pulaski County Board of Education is preparing to help some students with a "do-over."
Senate Bill 128, also known as the Supplemental School Year Program, allows K-12 students the chance to retake and/or supplement schoolwork during the 2021-2022 school year. Districts would have access to federal funds to remedy pandemic learning loss in creative ways and to help all students get back on track academically.
According to the new law's timeline, applications are due by May 1 and must by approved or denied by June 1. Board members will not be allowed to make the decision on an individual basis.
The Pulaski County School District has established an online request form on their website, Superintendent Patrick Richardson said. Go to pulaski.net and the "SB 128 Extra School Year Request Form" can be found as the first option on the top menu bar. Richardson added that the board will be considering the requests during the May 11 school board meeting.
"By June 16, the board must have an approved plan sent into the state," Supt. Richardson said, adding that plan is being formulated by the district curriculum team, Assistant Superintendent Sonya Wilds and student services.
During the action portion of Tuesday's meeting, the board approved participation in an ESSER (Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief) II set-aside fund which offers additional federal monies so long as the district spends 85 percent of its allocation on direct services for students. At $75 per student, the additional funding would mean some an extra $500,000 to $600,000 for Pulaski County Schools, according to District Fiscal Services Director Rebecca Wright.
"That won't be any trouble," Wright assured the board of meeting state guidelines.
In other business, the board:
• authorized Supt. Richardson to negotiated with the City of Somerset to provide sewer services for Shopville Elementary. The superintendent explained that the city will have to move one of its pump stations as part of the Ky. 80-Ky.461 interchange construction but is willing to extend service to the school if the district will share the cost of the project. Richardson noted that the school is expected to have to replace its sewer package plant in the next two or three years at an estimated cost of $500,000.
"Once we get on sewer, we're on the service forever," Richardson noted. "Those package plants last between 25 and 30 years."
• recognized Southwestern High School's girls basketball team, which won the regional title and made it to the Sweet 16 of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association championships hosted at Rupp Arena.
• heard a report that the district could start the next school year as many as 14 bus drivers short for the number of routes they have.
"Part of it's due to COVID," Supt. Richardson said, adding that he is opening up applications to certified teachers and other classified staff. "We've tried to shy away from that …but we're getting in pretty dire straits now."
• heard a presentation from Pulaski County High School history teacher Kevin Conforti on the ASPIRE grant.
• was presented a Year 3 review of the district's GEAR UP program.
The school board closed its meeting with an executive session to discuss property acquisition. No action was expected.