CCHS Principal Dearborn updates school board during work session

Posted March 16, 2021 at 11:36 am

After having to cancel its regular business meeting in February, the Clinton County School Board held its monthly work session for the month of March last Thursday.

All board members were present for the half-hour meeting, which had a limited agenda.

After approving the agenda as presented, the board first heard a presentation from first year Clinton County High School Principal Kenneth Dearborn, who discussed things that were taking place at the high school during an unusually turbulent school year…the result of COVID-19.

Dearborn presented the superintendent and board members a list of things the school was doing and briefly highlighted a few of the items, including ongoing planning for the 2021 CCHS graduation.

Planning has been taking place with input from senior class members and others, and Dearborn noted the school was seeking more input from parents and the public.

The graduation commencement ceremonies are tentatively scheduled to be held on the football field and more details on the 2021 CCHS graduation will be forthcoming closer to the close of school.

The principal also noted that a large majority of students, due to the COVID virus, have been on virtual learning, as opposed to in-person instruction, during the 2020-21 term.

On a positive note, he added that the junior class members had recently taken the ACT test, with results pending, and all but four students appeared to take that test, a higher than normal average.

Dearborn commended the GEAR-UP program, informing the board and others present at the meeting that they were purchasing all seniors a free Chromebook this year.

The principal also noted that due to the on and off situation of students sometimes being able to be in school and at other times not, credit recovery for students who may be behind in some areas began in January rather than waiting until the summer.

He also explained that the “virtual Friday” program, which assists students who are unable to attend in person by offering one on one learning, has been a success.

Dearborn also touched on the dual credit program, which helps students obtain college credits while in high school and plans that are being made for the next school year, which will hopefully be a lot more normal than the current year.

Finance Director Mike Reeves then gave his monthly finance report, telling the board there had been a grant received for daycare, which will be a big help to the district in the years to come.

Reeves also praised Paulette Brinley and the food service staff for the job they have done keeping the program in the black, despite problems associated with many students not being in school, or at times, schools being unable to be open.

He also updated the board on county property taxes that are still coming in, saying they were still ahead of last year’s pace.

The finance director also discussed the ESSER I funding, saying most of that money had been used on technology for the school district.

He added that ESSER II funding that has been approved by the state stipulates that 85 percent of the funds received be spent toward “direct services” and does not include such items as Chromebooks and some other types of technology.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Parson told the board that if they agreed to the 85 percent direct service stipulation, it would mean about $75 more spent on each student, or around $112,000 to $115,000 more in funding for the district.

Superintendent Parson also briefly reviewed some other items that were to be taken up for action at the board’s regular business meeting, including co-treasurer/bond treasurer; School Facilities Construction Commission progress; facilities; a policy pertaining to use of Social Media; positions; revised salary schedule, an amended 2020-21 and 2021-22 school calendar.

With no public comments being made, the meeting was adjourned.

(Details of the board’s meeting, which was held Monday of this week, appear in a separate article beginning on page 1.)