Jackson County Schools allocated $65,000 for the state-mandated summer school.
The School Board discussed preliminary plans for how the system will set up the sessions Thursday night. Director of Schools Kristy Brown said one thing to figure out is how $65,000 will cover six weeks for k-4 students and four weeks for 5-7 students.
“I mean, until we figure out how many kids are going to be eligible, and how many kids are actually gonna come and what grades they’re in, this is where we are,” Brown said. “But, I do not think that $65,000 is going to cover what’s required of this program, I do not. I think that it is severely underfunded.”
Brown said along with the $1,000 minimum a week for teachers, additional staff will have to be paid for. Students will need to be transported and fed during a six hour school day.
“The other costs that will be associated with that is going to be bus drivers for transportation,” Brown said. “Custodial staff when we have students in the buildings. Cafeteria staff, we’re going to feed them and then maybe someone to oversee that will be needed. Other staff, a nurse could be considered, so I think there’s additional costs that we’re going to incur to run our Summer school and staff it appropriately.”
One idea that is being considered, but not finalized is using one school as a central location for the program to help offset costs. Brown said the system’s $1.7 million in federal funding might be able to cover extra costs.
“The ESSER funds that we have been allocated, the amount, those plans I think have been extended and are due March 15,” Brown said. “My understanding is that those funds could be used to help supplement some of the additional costs that we would incur from Summer school.”
Brown said the system has enough teachers to staff Summer school. This Summer program is mandated for the system to implement, to try to help students who might have experienced learning loss over the last year.
“The state is issuing some guidelines on priority students,” Brown said. “So, this would be students that on our benchmark assessments and things like that throughout the year have shown an additional need for academic support. Then also, to consider those students who may have been performing quite well and for whatever reason, they may have been on track but have fallen down a little from there.”
The Summer school program that is being state funded will only be for students going into grades 1-8. No state funding was allocated for other grades.
Brown said the system could apply for 21st Century grant to fund the remaining grades. The Summer school program is mandated for school systems to provide, not for students to participate.