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USC to get $600,000 in Esser Funds

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jan 24, 2021

The United South Central School Board learned they could be receiving over $600,000 in Esser Relief Funds in the coming months.

“I will caution you and say this came from a preliminary announcement,” superintendent Keith Fleming told the board. “We would have through the end of the 2021-22 school year to use them.”

Fleming also updated board members on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have been notified some vaccines are being made available for the staff,” Fleming explained. “We do not know when or how much at this point.”

There was also discussion on the learning models for the students.

“We have kids back in the building and everyone is happier,” principal Julie Stauber said.

Currently, those students in grades K-4 are in the in-person learning model.

“We plan on bringing the fifth and sixth graders back in person on Feb. 1,” Fleming said.“The number of positive cases in the county is tracking down and our positive staff numbers are also going down.”

Stauber reported enrollment in grades 7-12 is holding steady.

“We have 324 students in the upper six grades,” Stauber commented. “That is one less than we had last month.”

Activities director Joe Kuechenmeister said athletics were up and running and other activities were also back in action.

“Our mock trial team is off to a 2-0 start after defeating Owatonna and Springfield,” Kuechenmeister reported. “Our One-Act Play is gearing up for Sub-Section competition at the end of January. The contest will be held virtually.”

The board also approved a timeline for setting the 2021-2022 budget.

“We are not looking at many changes from the previous year,” Fleming said. “We are anticipating 55 new kindergarten students so we will need to look at some staffing changes. We are also looking at purchasing a new elementary math curriculum. The schedule calls for the preliminary budget to be completed in April and the final budget is to be done in June.”

The board also:

• Approved an extra service agreement for Brandon Neseth as the middle school basketball coach.

• Passed a motion to authorize the posting of the 2020-21 seniority lists.

• Approved a resolution extending the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act to June 30, 2021.