Monday, June 24, 2024
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Van Buren Schools Table Daycare Renovations

Discussions by the Van Buren County School Board about renovating a masonic lodge for use as a daycare, tabled indefinitely Wednesday night.

Director of Schools Jared Copeland said the county received a grant from the Upper Cumberland Development District some three years ago to renovate the building. He said he believes that the money remaining from the grant would cover the needed renovations for a potential daycare center. The board tabled the decision after noting uncertainty about future state funding.

“At this moment, especially with TISA funding and all the mess in Nashville with the legislation and everything that’s up in the air, my opinion is that it would be a little bit unwise to jump into this now,” Copeland said. “I think it should probably still be the goal down the road.”

The board also voiced concerns over whether a daycare would be profitable. Copeland said a daycare would need at least three teachers and without enough students each year, teacher pay would not be covered by the rate families would pay. Copeland said he believes a daycare would be a valuable tool in bringing new teachers to the county.

“I think it’s a good tool,” Copeland said. “Especially for recruitment. You know, we’re going to have a young staff here in the next five, six, seven years as people retire. It’s a good way to recruit and say, ‘Hey, we do have, you know, we’ve got a way for childcare too.'”

The board considered other expenses like providing meals for kids and how those financial responsibilities could affect the bottom line. Ultimately, the board elected to monitor state legislation and pick the discussion back up at a later date.

In other business, the board approved the renewal of a contract with Interquest Detection, the company that provides canines for the school. The price for the service has not risen since the previous contract. Board Member Barry Austin said that given the way prices are generally soaring, this may be one of the best contracts the district has ever had.

The board also approved a contract with Stellar Therapy, a third-party company that helps schools receive state reimbursement for medical services for students. Copeland said the district could bring in another $20,000 to $30,000 in revenue through the reimbursements.

“This is just an opportunity to partner with them, have another additional piece of revenue, and even at that point, this might be another good way of looking at possibly sustaining our second school nurse down the road,” Copeland said.

The board also approved a contract with Dan’s Pest Control for the upcoming school year. Copeland said the company down monthly sprays and two more in-depth sprays throughout the year.