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Abby K-12 looks at ways to match FEMA grant

Abby K-12 looks at ways to match FEMA grant Abby K-12 looks at ways to match FEMA grant

Amidst all the uncertainty and planning for the 2020-21 academic school year, the Abbotsford School District received good news regarding their FEMA grant at its monthly board meeting on Monday.

“I have some really exciting news to share,” finance manager Ashley Dake said regarding the district’s unused funds from 2019-2020. “I started running the numbers with the school closure and that number is three times bigger than I anticipated.”

With students not in school starting in March, the district was able to save on utilities, staffing and travel since there were no sports or co-curriular events.

The unused money from the district will be placed into Fund 46, an account created for the purpose of saving money as a revenue source for future projects and unexpected expenditures without negatively affecting state aid.

“The unused budget is just that, it’s money that is actually budgeted,” Dake said.

With school buildings shutting down in March, a lot of money was left unspent in several parts of the budget, from athletics to maintenance, she said.

Once a Fund 46 is establish, the money in it cannot be touched for at least five years. Abbotsford established its Fund 46 account in 2016, which means that next year the district will be able to access those funds.

“After this year, it’s matured, so whatever money is in there — even the money we are putting in right now — is accessible for any project after the 2021 year,” Baker said.

The board approved a motion to place up to $725,000 into the Fund 46 account, which the district will use towards its 25 percent share, or $1.2 million, of the FEMA grant that was approved in May.

The Abbotsford Education Foundation recently promised another $100,000 towards the FEMA shelter, which will be used to house four classrooms and a theater space for the growing needs of the district.

This leaves the district $400,000 shy of its $1.2 million obligation. The board passed a further motion to solicit donations from private and public entities towards the FEMA construction project.

With money from Fund 46 combined with donations, Baker is hoping the district will be able to pay for the dome without the need to go to referendum.

“We’re in a good place,” she said.

Other business

_ Jerry Smith introduced himself as the new athletic director for the Abbotsford and Colby school districts. Smith said that the WIAA board of control has not made a decision on the fall season but he has been working with officials in the Marawood and Cloverbelt conferences to pursue fall athletics. Practices are to be pushed back two weeks, with all sporting events in August cancelled.

_ The board accepted the resignation of Jamie Koehler as elementary guidance counselor.

_ TheboardhiredJosephReissmannas a middle/high school mathematics teacher, Oriela German as a Spanish teacher, Fernand Reyes as a middle/high school bilingual aide and Yessica Aguilera as a part-time middle/high school bilingual aide.

_ The Spanish/English dual language learner program was extended to sixth and seventh grades for 2020-21.

_ A motion was passed to proceed into negotiations with the Colby-Abby Police Department, and the corresponding city councils, to work out an agreement by which the Abbotsford School District would directly contract with the CAPD to retain SRO Patrick Leichtnam’s services full time throughout the school year and for needed days throughout the summer.

Leichtnam holds a social worker’s license, though he is not licensed as a “school” social worker. Under the district’s proposal, Leichtnam would retain his SRO affiliation with the CAPD, while the district will utilize his social worker skills to create more partnerships within the community.