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McKenzie Special School District Changes approved for travel reimbursement

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During their March 1 meeting, members of the McKenzie Board of Education unanimously approved changes increasing what the school district pays out to administrators and teachers as far as travel reimbursement.

As Director of Schools Lynn Watkins advised the board, administrators and teachers are required to make work-related trips each year for things like conferences and workshops, and it has been several years since the board updated the reimbursement rates paid for travel expenses.

Watkins pointed out that the costs of fuel, lodging, and food have all gone up since then.

Under the new policy, the district will pay 58.5 cents per mile and $8 per day in parking fees for those driving their own vehicles.

Between $96 and $236 per person will be paid for lodging and between $59 and $79 will be paid for meals and other incidental expenses, all depending on the location.

• • •

In other business:

•The board approved a couple of amendments to the current fiscal year budget, both involving additional COVID-related funding from the government. Watkins said this money was used to buy 100 new chromebooks and a new walk-in freezer for food service at the middle school, and well as to cover some payroll expenses for extra COVID-related work by employees.

•The school meal rates for staff and adult visitors were increased from $1.35 to $3.00 for breakfast and from $2.75 to $3.25 for lunch, all to go into effect at the start of the 2022-23 school year. Watkins said the increase was needed to address a recent finding by auditors that indicated that the district was not breaking even on food costs under the old rates.

•Data regarding the district ESSER 3.0 funding was approved to be posted on the district’s website as part of government requirements.

•Watkins advised the board that Senator John Stevens and Rep. Tandy Darby have submitted bills on the dockets in the State Senate and House of Representatives for a private act authorizing the district to issue and sell bonds or borrow up to $4 million in order to fund the construction of a new athletic facility next to the existing high school facility. The project is projected to cost around $2.5 million.

•Two related board policy amendments were approved on first readings. These amendments address the disruption and interference of school activities by students and the documentation required for the permanent removal of a student from the classroom if that student “repeatedly and substantially interferes with the learning environment.”

•Watkins advised the board that Carol McMackin has been employed as a cafeteria worker, Leia Triplett has been hired as an educational assistant, and Emma Griffin and Joshua LaMonte have both been added to the substitute teacher list.

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