Joplin Schools Board of Education discusses taxes, school amid COVID-19

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Joplin Schools Board of Education met for a meeting to discuss tax levy, finances, opening plans for schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and more.

The Board of Education focused largely on the best way for Joplin schools to open and continue to stay open alongside the coronavirus, including ways in which students can most effectively learn via virtual or partially virtual learning. One subject focused on included was providing 24/7 WIFI for students in schools’ parking lot. This subject was moved and seconded for approval and was approved. There will be 21 total access points.

Another subject among schools that was discussed included approving a purchase of 180 Chromebooks for Irving Elementary. This was moved and seconded and was approved. It was also discussed to hire a social worker for McKenny-Vento school, as there are currently 102 students who are considered homeless. It was moved and seconded and was approved for the social worker to be hired. An additional item discussed was to approve a contract with Phoenix Home Health Care for a private day nurse. It was moved and seconded, and this was approved.
The board conducted a detailed discussion of the ways in which to go forward when handling COVID-19 within the schools and decided to reconvene at a later date.

“Well, my hope for Joplin schools is we have a successful year and that our faculty and our staff and our students stay healthy and that we can keep our buildings open and continue to have school as we hear news all around us,” said Melinda moss, superintendent. “Sometimes it’s worrisome, but I feel like our first two days of school have gone well and we’re trying to put in all the precautions we can but still have school. So, everybody wants normal, but we’re not living in normal times right now, but we’re very happy that we’re able to have our kids back.”

The board recognized Meghan Klostermann as the outstanding new special education administration. SEMA acquired two million masks to distribute to schools statewide and 16,000 went to Joplin schools’ students and staff. Monica Reynolds was honored as outstanding choral director. Also, Joplin schools announced that Mrs. Heather Van Otterloo of South Middle School was chosen as one of 98 teachers in the country to take part in national history day.

Crossland and CGA Architects presented to the board in regard to the Kelsey Norman Addition. They discussed the design process and idea planning for the classrooms, describing charette one and two, stating they are now in charette three. The stated that the result that they have come up with includes three classrooms, SPED spaces, a living room/breakout space, community space, storage space, and more. They will conduct the bidding in November and the expected completion date is June 2021.

The board also discussed the tax levy—after further discussing it in a closed session before the public meeting—and decided to continue the same rates. They also discussed Joplin schools’ expenditures, which were move and seconded to be approved.

“Well, I think we had a successful board meeting,” Moss said. “… Keeping our levy is important to us and even though they could’ve raised it tonight they chose not to and we’re keeping our promise to the public.”

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