Snow sports program in the air, GMUSD board considers budget additions | News

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CHESTER, VT – Two Rivers Watch Union superintendent Lauren Fierman announced at the Green Mountain Unified School District school board meeting on November 18 that schools will not be hosting the snow this year. Additionally, as budget discussions are set to begin in early December, council has heard of several upcoming issues that could impact the budget, including a possible allocation for the Fletcher Community Library in Cavendish and a reimbursement. possible for optional elementary learning.

The {span} Two Rivers Supervisory Union is not running a school ski program this year. Although if schools have groups of volunteers who want to fill this role, it would be allowed. Fierman said the logistics to make the program work are too difficult with all the additional issues related to COVID-19. She said that next year she hopes they will get back to normal and do it in schools again.

The CTES will continue its snow sports program led by a separate group. GMUHS and CAES are also exploring volunteering options.

The Board of Trustees of the Fletcher Community Library, which is a public municipal library connected to Cavendish Town Elementary School, has asked the GMUSD board of trustees to approve a credit of $ 40,000 to cover associated costs. to two full days per week of programming provided to students. The money wouldn’t necessarily be spent on the salary of full-time FCL librarian Kata Welch, per se, but the number was obtained by looking at two days of salary and benefits. Welch is certified both as a librarian and as a teacher.

According to Sandra Russo, who is both a director of FCL and a member of the Cavendish Selectboard, the library’s reserves are dwindling – something they cannot continue if they are to be sustainable for the future. That’s why they come to the board and ask them to pay “their fair share”. CTES has received librarian services for 24 years without contributing to their salary.

“We provide a service and we think we should be paid for that service,” she said.

Fierman spoke out in favor of the contribution, saying the amount goes to “pay our share of the benefits we receive.”

Librarians for other schools in the district are paid by the schools.

Several members of the board of directors expressed their confusion about the arrangement between the CTES and the library. Although the library is attached to the school, the city owns it. Although Welch is hired by and reporting to the Trustees, she is considered a municipal employee and receives a stipend and benefits from the city, primarily for accounting purposes. The trustees then reimburse the city. The {span} Two Rivers Supervisory Union also pays for a portion of the library’s utilities.

Board member Dennis Reilly asked why this request had come so suddenly. Another board member, Abe Gross, a former FCL administrator, said that due to the unification of the school district everyone is sharing the costs and it is no longer appropriate that these costs are borne only by Cavendish.

Several board members requested to see a more detailed accounting breakdown of library costs. Decisions on whether to approve the credit request will come during budget negotiations, which are expected to start this week.

Board member Abe Gross also raised the question of whether or not the board should reimburse parents who choose to send their elementary students to other private schools or with instruction through an e-learning program.

Fierman said the question comes down to whether the board feels this is an expense the school should pay. His opinion, however, was that {span} Two Rivers Supervisory Union should have no obligation to pay for these other choices or schools.

“Public schools are the only ones required to provide free and appropriate public education,” she said. “In my opinion, this should not be used to pay for schools that we do not supervise. “

Fierman informed the board that in recent weeks there have been cases of COVID-19 at all five schools in the {span} Two Rivers Supervisory Union. Teachers very quickly implemented the Education Agency’s “Test to Stay” program, which has helped over 100 students stay in school to continue learning.

Testing to Stay allows anyone identified as a close contact who is asymptomatic to have daily rapid antigen testing and, once negative, return to class.

In recent school vaccination clinics for students aged 5 to 11, 37 elementary students in Cavendish Town received the vaccine and a total of 45 vaccines were administered. At Chester-Andover Elementary School, 155 people were vaccinated, just over half of whom were CAES students. Green Mountain Union High and Middle School currently has 61 percent of students vaccinated.

The next regular GMUSD board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 16 at 6 p.m. at the GMUHS library and via Zoom.


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