Although school officials are still waiting to see what the calendar will look like when classes resume in the fall, the Webster County Board of Education did have some good news for faculty and staff on Monday. Board member voted unanimously to approve a 2020-21 salary schedule that includes a two% across the board pay raise for all employees.

Brandi Burnett, District Director of Finance, said that the last across the board raise for Webster County School employees was in the 2013-14 school year. That raise was part of a statewide unfunded mandate from then governor Steve Beshear.

The current raise is one that the district has built into its budget.

“Its not unusual for district to take a cut halfway though the year, but we feel our budget is healthy enough to go ahead,” said superintendent Rhonda Callaway.

As for the school schedule, Assistant Superintendent Greg Bowles said that plans for the upcoming school year are currently on hold as officials wait for guidance from the state. He plans to have more information available by the next school board meeting, scheduled for Monday, May 11.

He was, however, able to give an update on the current school calendar.

The last day for Webster County students will be Friday, May 8. Students will have until May 11 to turn in their Link2Learn packets to get credit for their school work. The final day for teachers this school year will be Wednesday, May 20.

Callaway announced that testing for AP students will happen, allowing those students to qualify for college credits, although the exam will be a modified form from what is normally given. It will be entirely online, and will have a 45 minute writing piece instead of multiple choice questions.

GRADUATION/

SENIORS

Plans for the 2020 graduation are still in the works. Callaway said that there will definitely be a virtual graduation, including recorded speeches from students and faculty, awards and a formal declaration of graduation but if and how any in-person service is held will ultimately be determined by the state.

“As of 3:38, superintendents had received word that KDE has received guidance from public health,” Callaway told board members. “They will get it out to schools as soon as possible We will for sure do a virtual graduation. There is a plan to do more, but we have to wait for approval.”

One plan in the works includes a drive through graduation on May 15 at the high school, which will include a parade back to student’s elementary school. (See story)

“I hope we can do something more than just virtual,” added high school principal Jarod Hankins.

For the time being those plans will be determined by the KDE with guidance from public health officials.

It was announced during the meeting that WCHS is currently working to provide yard signs for Webster County seniors. Those signs can be displayed at the home of the upcoming graduates. There will also be a second set of signs made which will be on display at the school. Those will include the student’s senior drape photo.

FOOD SERVICES

Although school will official be out as of May 8, Webster County Food Services will continue to provide free meals to students until May 22.

After food service personnel get a week off, the district plans to proceed with the annual summer feeding program, but that will hinge on whether or not the state waives the normal restriction. That service is normally provided in a communal setting, and would be impossible to operate under current COVID-19 restrictions. If a waiver is allowed, those meals will be provided to students from June 1 through June 30, once again being delivered by bus.

Since schools closed on March 13, Webster County Food Services have proved 78,000 free meals to Webster County students.

LINK2LEARN

Superintendent Callaway announced on Monday that while the latest results from the district’s nontraditional learning (Link2Learn) program was significantly below the average participation normally seen on snow days, it was satisfactory.

She reported that 84% of students completed work during the first week of L2L, with that number rising to 85% in week two and 88% in week three. On snow days district participation averages in the mid-90’s.

“To be out as long as we have, while those numbers don’t sound great, we are pretty satisfied that they stayed that high,” she stated.

Contact Matt Hughes at matt@journalenterprise.com or 270-667-2069