LOADING

Type to search

Decatur Schools to consider paying for rapid COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff

Decatur Trending

Decatur Schools to consider paying for rapid COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education. Top row, left to right: Superintendent David Dude and School Board Chair Lewis Jones. Bottom row, left to right: School board members James Herndon, Tasha White (Vice Chair), Heather Tell and Jana Johnson-Davis. Image obtained via City Schools of Decatur
Share

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur will hold its regular School Board meeting on Feb. 9, and one of the items up for consideration involves deploying rapid COVID-19 tests for symptomatic students and staff.

There will be a closed-door executive session at 5:30 p.m. to discuss legal and personnel matters. The regular meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. To view the meeting via Zoom, click here.

Pre-k through fifth grade students returned to in-person learning on Jan. 19. According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, more than 20 COVID-19 cases have been reported by the district, though a recent press release from the district says that most of the cases the district has uncovered were contracted outside of school.

The regular meeting agenda includes a Fiscal Year 2021 budget adjustment to account for the impact of COVID-19 on school district finances.

“COVID -19 continues to negatively impact the district’s FY2021 budget,” the summary of the agenda item says. “The following budget amendments are being recommended.  The recommended budget amendments will reduce supplies and equipment by $1.1 million and increase salaries, FICA , and supplies by approximately $438,974.  The unassigned fund balance will increase from 6.4% to 7.3%, which will allow the district to maintain the target range of 4% – 15% based upon annual budgeted expenditures.”

One of those amendments concerns COVID-19 testing.

“In order to provide for point-of-care testing of symptomatic students and staff in our school health clinics, we have explored various testing options,” the agenda says. “We have selected BinaxNOW COVID-19 AgCards to be procured from Abbott. The tests will be administered by school personnel and will provide results in 15 minutes. The minimum purchase is 10,000 tests at a rate of $5 per test. If we determine all of the tests are not needed for symptomatic testing, we will explore the possibility of using them for surveillance testing and/or partnering with another school district or agency to purchase some of the tests.”

The expected cost to the district is $50,000 for the current fiscal year.

Here is the full memo on the proposed budget amendment attached to the Feb. 9 School Board meeting agenda:

Recommendation

Recommended approval of FY2021 Budget Amendments III as described below.

Summary

COVID -19 continues to negatively impact the district’s FY2021 budget. The following budget amendments are being recommended.  The recommended budget amendments will reduce supplies and equipment by $1.1 million and increase salaries, FICA , and supplies by approximately $438,974.  The unassigned fund balance will increase from 6.4% to 7.3%, which will allow the district to maintain the target range of 4% – 15% based upon annual budgeted expenditures.

SPLOST revenues have not been impacted as significantly as initially projected, so the SPLOST budget will increase by $2.0 million to reflect the trend of revenue that is being collected.

Background

Learning Pods

The purpose of the district learning pod program is to provide temporary supervision to fill the gap of student and family learning needs during CSD’s transition from virtual learning to in-person learning. The Board previously approved a budget request for $75,000 (October) to pay salaries for hourly workers to facilitate CSD sponsored learning pods.  Then the Board approved an additional $108,000 (January) to extend pods through February 12, 2021. The need for CSD sponsored pods will likely continue for some time.  The average cost of pods is $4,500 per day.  There are 65 days of school remaining after Winter Break so the total cost for pods will not exceed $4,500 per day and will not exceed $322,950 for the remainder of the year.

Learning Pods Amendment Request (General Fund) –$322,950 for salaries and FICA for the current fiscal year only

School Health Aides

Three School Health Aides positions are being requested for the current fiscal year only.  School Health Aides will support the nurses at our larger schools to manage typical clinic duties and the additional responsibilities associated with COVID-19 mitigation. School Health Aides will assist the nurse with contact tracing and will provide care to students for general health, injury, or illness. There will be three full-time positions; one at Decatur High School; one at Renfroe Middle School; and one shared between Talley and F.AVE.

School Health Aides Amendment Request (General Fund) –$66,024 Salaries and Benefits for the current fiscal year only.

COVID-19 Testing

In order to provide for point-of-care testing of symptomatic students and staff in our school health clinics, we have explored various testing options.  We have selected BinaxNOW COVID-19 AgCards to be procured from Abbott. The tests will be administered by school personnel and will provide results in 15 minutes. The minimum purchase is 10,000 tests at a rate of $5 per test. If we determine all of the tests are not needed for symptomatic testing, we will explore the possibility of using them for surveillance testing and/or partnering with another school district or agency to purchase some of the tests.

COVID-19 Amendment Request (General Fund) – $50,000 Supplies for the current fiscal year only.

Reduction of Budgeted Supplies & Equipment

The district has spent in excess of $1.1 million for COVID related salaries, supplies, and equipment. The district has received CARES grants that can be utilized to cover those unbudgeted COVID-19 expenses.  This request is to reduce the current supplies & equipment budget by $1.1 million and reallocate the $1.1 million in expenses to the CARES grant.

Reduction of Budgeted Supplies & Equipment Amendment Request (General Fund) –

Reduce General Fund Supplies & Equipment Budget by $1.1 million for the current year only

SPLOST Budget

The recommendation was made for the BOE to approve the SPLOST budget at $3 million due to the uncertainty that COVID-19 would have on sales tax revenue.  In reviewing SPLOST revenue for the last seven months, the revenue is coming in at a slightly higher rate than last year’s tax revenue.  The district has already received 81% of the $3 million budget and is on target to surpass the $3 million budget.  This request is to increase the SPLOST budget from $3 million to $5 million.

SPLOST Budget Amended Request (SPLOST Fund) – Increase Budget from $3 million to $5 million

Financial Impact

Financial Impact to General Fund: (A reduction of $695,297 to fund balance)

Learning PODS                                                           $ 322,950

School Health Aides                                                        66,024

COVID Testing                                                                 50,000

CARES Grant                                                              (1,134,271)

                                                                                       (695,297)

Financial Impact to SPLOST: (Increase Budget of 2 million)

Projected Revenue                                                      $2,000,000

Other items on the agenda for Feb. 9 are:

– A discussion of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget

– A district improvement plan

– A board newsletter

To see the full agenda, with supporting documentation, click here.

If you appreciate our work, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about your community. To become a supporter, click here

Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here

Decaturish needs your support!

Help us provide you with free, quality local news. Become a Decaturish.com supporter today

To chip in $3 a month, click here.

To chip in $6 a month, click here.

To chip in $60 a year, click here.
* Decaturish.com is not a 501-c-3 organization. Support of Decaturish goes toward our newsgathering efforts. Decaturish does not have a print edition.
close-link