CLARK COUNTY — Since the start of the school year, Greater Clark County Schools has had 28 among staff test positive for COVID-19 and 31 among students.
Greater Clark Superintendent Mark Laughner provided an update on COVID-19 in the district at Tuesday’s board meeting. The district is now in a week of scheduled eLearning, and the semester will finish the first week of December.
“We feel things are going well,” he said. “Principals, teachers and students are doing the right things in terms of wearing a mask and following policies and procedures.”
Laughner said none of the staff members who tested positive has been hospitalized. Nineteen staff are now quarantined. More than 700 students have been quarantined since the start of the year.
“Our biggest worry is we don’t want staff and students to become impacted by COVID-19,” Laughner said. “The other biggest worry is that our students stay on top of their grades and stay engaged.”
Laughner said the in-person learning enrollment is growing and Greater Clark is up to about 70% of students learning in-person. Nine of the schools are at 75% or more in-person.
“I would guess we’ve had about 500 students come back to in-person learning at the end of the nine weeks going into the second nine weeks, and I think that trend will continue into the second semester,” he said.
He said virtual learning enrollment trends higher on the secondary level. Laughner said secondary schools can handle virtual learning a bit easier than the elementary, and both across the state and in Greater Clark, many athletes are choosing to go with the virtual option so they are less likely to be quarantined and miss out on games.
Laughner said he expects to present the proposed calendar for the second semester at the next school board meeting Oct. 27.
Greater Clark also conducted a public hearing for the district’s proposed 2021 budget. The budget will be adopted at the board’s Oct. 27 meeting.
Laura Hubinger, Greater Clark’s chief financial officer, explained the proposed budget at the hearing. Budget estimates include $1.3 million for the rainy day fund; $21,266,889 for debt service; $1,265,134 for school pension debt, $65,197,771 for education and $20,449,303 for operations for a total of $109,479,097.
Laughner emphasized that the district plans to keep the tax rate at $1.10 as it pursues districtwide facility improvements.
“We made a commitment to keep a tax rate of $1.10 knowing that our assessed value will go up, hopefully, as things happen in our district, which will allow us to do some projects and do some improvements in our district, which we’ve already seen this year with some athletic improvements and some other things in our district…,” Laughner said.