Superintendent’s Report – September 2022

Superintendent’s Report – September 2022

Our first day with students went well. I observed a lot of visibly happy parents and happy students at the Hinsdale Elementary School drop off on our opening day of August 30th. Our preschool and our afterschool program at HES and HMS began on Tuesday, September 6th.

Our new bleachers are installed in our Hinsdale Middle/High School gym. On Wednesday, August 31st our athletic director demonstrated a remote control device that activated the process where the bleachers opened. The bleachers take about ten seconds to roll in place. Thanks to all our maintenance personnel, including our Director of Facilities, for the quick installation. Thanks to the Board and the voters for supporting this project.

We hired a staff payroll accountant on Tuesday, September 6th. Gretchen Higgins has experience in both accounts payable and in payroll and will be doing both for SAU 92. Gretchen replaces Debbie Godin.

The state adequacy preliminary revenue for the current school year have been released. Overall we are expecting slightly more than we received last year, $5,282,242. The state-wide education property tax was cut by $100 million. The $100 million amounts to about 30% of the total. However, for each dollar the Hinsdale School District is losing in statewide property tax revenue we are generally receiving a state adequacy dollar to replace it. The result of the reduction in state-wide property tax will likely result in lower overall property taxes which should be reflected on the Hinsdale November property tax bill.

The base per pupil state adequacy revenue rate is now set at $3,786.66 per student. Adequacy includes an additional rate for certain students as follows: $1,893.32 for a free or reduced-price meal eligible student. $2,037.11 for a special education student who has an individualized educational plan (IEP). 740.87 for an English Language Learner (ELL) receiving English Language instruction. $740.87 for each 3rd grade student whose achievement score on the state assessment for reading was below the proficient level, provided the student is not already counted in any of the above three categories. Other major contributors to our adequacy revenue from the state include free and reduced revenue modifications. Last year all free/reduced student numbers were, at a minimum, brought to the 2019-2020 school year number to act as an enrollment hold harmless. For this year we will only receive free/reduced revenue based on current numbers of students with completed qualifying applications.

Any Equalized Valuation Per Free/Reduced Pupil that is under $1 million gets the maximum grant of $650 per free/reduced lunch pupil. There is additional aid based on free/reduced lunch numbers and this grant is called “Relief Aid.” This new grant awards a sliding scale grant starting at $150 and going up to $600 per free/reduced lunch student. Communities with at least 12% free/reduced lunch student population are eligible. Hinsdale currently has a free/reduced lunch percentage of 37%. The $151,580 in funding for our Hinsdale Afterschool Program, $264,885 for our Title I (reading and math) program, $39,562 for our staff development program are mostly determined by our free/reduced lunch student total.

Senate Bill 140 was renamed “Extraordinary Need Grant.” Hinsdale should receive $126,424.00 from this grant, as long as our application is accepted. The accountability plan application for the Extraordinary Need Grant is due by January 9, 2023. The Extraordinary Need Grant revenue is included in the $5,282.242.00 total in state adequacy revenue.

As of Wednesday, September 14th the number of new COVID-19 cases in Cheshire County over the past 14 days was 125.  As of September 14th we have had eight positive cases of COVID-19 this school  year in the Hinsdale School District. We are following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released updated guidance for COVID-19 in schools. The guidance advises to stay home when sick. Those with the following symptoms should stay home: respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, cough, fever (temperature greater than 100 degrees F), sore throat, vomiting,
and diarrhea. In addition, testing is recommended as soon as possible for people with symptoms. We are currently not conducting tests, but will have tests available for families to test at home. Parents are asked to please contact the school if their child tests positive. For attendance purposes, please email a picture of a positive test with the date and student’s name. If the student’s test is negative but with symptoms, please email a picture of the negative test with student’s name and the date on it.

All the recommended steps for HVAC systems in the Hinsdale School District have been taken.

The district teaches and reinforces proper hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer especially during key times of day such as snack and meal time. We will also emphasize proper covering for coughs and sneezes.

Surfaces are cleaned once a day. If a person with COVID-19 has been inside a school within last 24 hours, the space is cleaned and disinfected.

Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least five (5) days and isolate from others in your home.

If you had COVID-19 symptoms, please follow this guidance:

  • Day 0 of isolation is the day of symptom onset, regardless of when you tested positive.
    • Day 1 is the first full day after the day your symptoms started. You may end isolation after Day 5 and return to school – wearing a mask – through Day 10 if:
    • You are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and your symptoms are improving

If you still have a fever or your other symptoms have not improved, continue to isolate until they improve. If you had moderate illness (shortness of breath or had difficulty breathing), or severe illness (you were hospitalized due to COVID-19), or you have a weakened immune system, you need to isolate through Day 10. If you had severe illness or have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation. Ending isolation without a viral test may not be an option for you. If you are unsure if your symptoms are moderate or severe, or if you have a weakened immune system, talk to your healthcare provider for further guidance.

We still have many positions open. We still need a HMHS literary interventionist, a HMHS science teacher, several para educators, a Title I tutor, substitute teachers, and a HES math interventionist.

We continue to fund approved activities through our three federal ESSER grants. As always we continue to welcome public input regarding potential expenditures related to any of our three ESSER grants. Our ESSER I grant (CARES Act) of $188,678.75 needs to be expended by September 30, 2022. We have very little left in our ESSER I account. To date we have expended funds from ESSER I for the following items: books to support remote learning, supplies to minimize spread of pathogens, storage for excess furniture, special education transportation, special education purchased services, and special education staff time, out of district special education tuition, substitute teachers, social worker assistant at HES, laptops for students and staff, increased internet bandwidth, webcams and related wiring.

Our ESSER Committee intends to meet on October 26th to review the expenditures in our ESSER II and ESSER III grants and determine if there are additional requests to be considered at the November School Board meeting.

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