Based on a final review by the board’s attorney, the Simpson County School Board approved purchasing computers for all public school students and faculty in the county.
The board approved making the purchase with an 80 - 20 matching grant. The 20 percent will come from a grant program called the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Funds, ESSER. Those funds total $479,903 and $1,124, 419 will come from the Equity and Digital Learning Act.
The total cost of the new equipment is $1.6 million dollars to provide Chrome Books with included software to the students and teachers. The 3,800 units cost the district $422.19 each. Some Chrome Books that are currently on loan to students will be turned back in before new ones are issued.
At a special called board meeting Monday, the board voted to approve the order to purchase the Chrome Books.
In other business, the board approved hiring Judith Jones as Director of COVID, Tina Benton as Mendenhall High School nurse, Alisha Kennedy as Magee Middle School nurse and Anna Garner as the nurse for Mendenhall Junior High. Jones brings to the table several years of supervisory experience at the Mississippi State Hospital. According to Asst. Superintendent Dr. Robert Sanders, she comunicates effectively and brings leadership skills to the central office.
The board discussed employees being able to work from home. Very few employees will be able to do so but those who are considered “at risk” may be granted that permission. Strict guidelines are being adopted by the board to allow this to happen.
According to Superintendent Greg Paes, those new procedures will be placed on the district’s web-site. Some issues were cited for qualification like “good attitude” that could not be quantified, and the staff was instructed to strike those non-measurable attributes from the policy.
The board approved contracts with Copiah Lincoln Community College which addressed dual enrollment issues for public school students in the program. The board also approved a Region 8 Mental Health Agreement which allows the sharing of records of students who are using Region 8 and are students in the public school system.