Mascenic School Board accepts third round of COVID funds

  • Mascenic Regional High School Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/15/2021 4:39:53 PM

The Mascenic Regional School Board voted Monday night to formally accept a third round of COVID-19 funding, but the board is as yet unsure what it will be spent on.

Superintendent Chris Martin said that this money, which comes from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund under the American Rescue Plan, amounts to about $1.2 million. It also comes with guidelines on how the money can be spent – Martin said they were more like “barriers.”

‘The theory behind those monies is that now we’re trying to either prevent or respond to COVID, or react to COVID,” she said. “Everything that we spent out of those dollars has to fall into one of those three categories.”

School board chair Rachel Anderson also said that the bureaucracy involved with the COVID money would be “a hindrance” in spending the money. 

Martin said that the district is considering spending some of the money on related issues, such as outdoor classrooms and touchless doors.

“Right now, we’ve got all that on hold, because we need to figure out what we’re going to do about the construction requirements,” she said.

The fund allows for three years to expend the money, so Martin said that there isn’t a rush. 

“We’re just closing out 15 of the most difficult months that I think any of us have endured in our careers,” she said. For now, she and her team are going to let the dust settle on the past school year, and revisit the issue for the next school board meeting in July.

Also at the meeting, the board approved funds from the Capital Reserve Fund to improve lighting in the administrative building. The board also voted to offer an additional section of Auto 1, an automotive class, due to increased demand from Mascenic, ConVal, and Conant.

“This is a truly exciting situation for the program,” said Anderson, “as in past years we have seen dwindling interest and it has been slowly increasing in the last year or two. It will give our students and those in surrounding districts to learn a life skill and perhaps even launch a career in the auto industry, a sector that is in desperate need of technicians.”

The board also discussed a change to the annual Boynton Middle School eighth grade field trip that would involve visiting Philadelphia, Valley Forge, and Gettysburg, as opposed to Washington D.C. in previous years. This would make it more relevant to the eighth grade social studies curriculum, according to Martin. It would also potentially be more affordable, according to Anderson – estimated to be a $500 to $400 difference.

The board approved the field trip plan. Newly selected Greenville representative Kenneth Mayne commented that he was “crossing fingers that everything we’re dealing with now is behind us” when it is time for the field trip next spring. 

The board plans to take up the issue of the COVID-19 funding and other relevant topics at the next meeting in July.


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