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CARES 2 could help local school system

According to information shared by Dr. Kevin Judy during the board of education’s meeting held a week ago, Emanuel County Schools could benefit greatly from the CARES 2 Act.

The superintendent said during the January 11 meeting that the Georgia Department of Education was set to vote Thursday, January 14, on how to allocate those funds. In short, the local school system will be able to draw down an additional almost $7 million in funding for school nutrition, technology, virtual learning, and curriculum. Once the funds are received, department heads will be consulted to determine the best way to distribute them. The funds can be drawn down up to September 30, 2022 with an extension to 2024, should the need arise. As more information becomes available about these funds, Dr. Judy will share accordingly with the BOE and the community.

Part of the Georgia Department of Education’s Thursday actions in regard to CARES 2 included, on behalf of Governor Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods, a plan to provide a one-time, $1,000 bonus payment to every kindergarten through 12th grade teacher as well as school-level staffers across the state. The approximate $240 million—$60 million from Kemp’s office and $180 million from the Georgia DOE—will be allocated to individual school districts and must be spent on the bonus payments. The official recommendation to allocate the approval will take place at the state BOE meeting on February 18.

Also during the Emanuel County Board of Education meeting held last Tuesday, re-elected board members John Allen Bailey and Mase Henry were sworn in for their new terms. Emanuel County Probate Judge Don Wilkes conducted the ceremony virtually. Del Brown, who was also re-elected but absent from the meeting, will be sworn in this week.

In other news:

• Henry was re-elected chairman and Johnny Parker was re-elected vice chair. They will serve in these capacities for the next two years.

• Dr. Judy thanked the BOE for its quick response in postponing the start of second semester until January 19 as a result of high COVID-19 cases throughout the district. (More about this on page 8.) He also provided information about COVID vaccinations, which would soon be started through East Georgia Healthcare and the health department. According to the superintendent, the “vaccination will not be mandated but will be optional” and the BOE would provide the number of needed doses for employees interested to these two healthcare facilities by the end of the week.

• The consent agenda was approved. Included in this agenda item were: minutes from the December 8 meeting, the financial reports, 2020-2021 fundraisers, the revised academic calendar for 2020-2021, and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act Extension.

The board entered executive session. Following the return to open session, the board approved the following:

Employment of certified employee Mollie Smith as Director of Finance.

Employments of classified employees Joyce Fionnory, Karen Irvin, Lorie Love, Nancy Lumley, Sherree Perry, Jaime Purvis, and Elisha K. Youmans, substitute teachers; Jennifer Allen, bus driver; Susan Mazzaferro, substitute bus monitor, and Sheila Wells, school food service manager.

Resignations/Transfers/Retirements of paraprofessional Karen Irvin, effective December 18, 2020 and school food service assistant Harriett Newsome, effect December 29, 2020.

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