PSRC donates to help Kentucky school district recover from tornado impacts

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LUMBERTON – The Robeson County Public Schools School Board will send $ 2,000 to the Mayfield Independent School District in Ky., Which has been affected by recent tornadoes in the area.

The region was hit by tornadoes on Friday, among others, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and other states.

Several ideas surrounding collecting items, such as filling up unused school buses in schools or encouraging spectators to bring items to sporting events like shootouts, were discussed. However, board members did not approve a specific way to collect items during the meeting.

PSRC Superintendent Freddie Williamson said funding should be sent as soon as possible, but the school district could collect items such as non-perishable food for delivery in January.

School board member Dwayne Smith said he was planning to take a trip to the area and join in efforts to assist storm survivors. He said he would be prepared to provide funds on behalf of the board. He also said he has been approached by people who wish to give back to storm survivors.

“We all know that when we had our floods, like you said, a lot of people helped the public schools in Robeson County, not just the public schools, they helped Robeson County in general,” he said. said PSRC board chairman Mike Smith.

“So it’s a good point on our point to reciprocate and show love to people,” he said.

FEMA Trial Update

In other areas, school board members received an update regarding the system’s fundraising appeal involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency related to Hurricane Mathew recovery efforts.

“Mr. Chairman, Board Members, I would really love to have an update for you, but there is none at this time,” said Hugh McIlwain, Director of Internal Affairs and Finance, as the board members shared a moment of laughter.

McIlwain said the school district is “just waiting for a response from FEMA” regarding the requests for additional information.

The appeal for more than $ 87 million from Federal Emergency Management was turned over to the federal agency by NC Emergency Management on October 8, he said. The agency has 90 working days to respond. But, if FEMA requests more information within that time frame, the agency has an additional 90 days for the next response when it receives the information from the school district.

If the district has not heard anything in the first 180 days, the district has the option of requesting that the matter be referred to arbitration, McIlwain said.

“We just hope that the 90 days come, that they give us our funding and that we can move forward,” he said.

It plans to receive funding by the end of February through March 1, McIlwain said.

“This is a very optimistic view on Hugh’s part,” said Grady Hunt, counsel for the board.

School board president Mike Smith asked how much money had been spent to secure the funding, which FEMA had previously offered to pay around $ 4.5 million.

PSRC finance director Erica Setzer estimated that more than $ 40,000 has been spent so far in the effort.

“The reason for the lawsuit is the difference between the $ 5 million and the $ 80 million plus. So the $ 40,000 is well spent to get that number where it needed to be, ”Setzer said.

School board members also received an update on the project involving repairs to the RB Dean Elementary School building, part of which was set on fire in a fire in April.

McIlwain told the board that the school district insurance company paid for the cost of demolishing parts and cleaning up areas affected by the fire, which totaled more than $ 256,000.

“They refunded us 100%,” he said.

The insurance company also gave the district’s cash value of the lost building, which was around $ 1.6 million.

The school district is awaiting the green light from contractors to modernize the bathrooms in the gymnasium.

The building was vacant at the time of the fire and is being used for storage.

“The gymnasium will therefore be available for community use, that is our intention,” said PSRC Superintendent Freddie Williamson.

Floor repair of the Rosenwald gymnasium

Williamson apologized on behalf of the school district for the delay in repairing the floor at Rosenwald Gymnasium, damaged by Hurricane Florence.

“I apologize to this community and this school for the fact that it took us two years to fix this problem,” said Williamson.

The school district failed to turn the article into its insurance agency, he said.

Bobby Locklear, assistant superintendent of ancillary services, said more than two years have passed since students were able to use the gymnasium due to the demolition efforts. The ground was damaged by flooding that passed through a low area near the back door, he said.

The cost of the project is estimated between 80,000 and 90,000 dollars, he said.

School board members Craig Lowry and Vonta Leach asked workers to deal with any other signs, leaks or water spills before replacing the flooring.

Locklear said the district is looking at two options for the floor, one made of wood and the other of rubber.

Williamson said part of the money received from the RB Dean project will be used for the gymnasium floor project.

Mask policy

PSRC school board members Randy Lawson and Dwayne Smith voted against the CEO’s recommendation that students and staff continue to wear face masks on buses and in buildings.

Lawson said parents say it is their right to decide whether or not their child wears a mask.

“I feel like I have to let them make a decision,” he said.

Lawson said school districts had options regarding mask policies to be put in place by state lawmakers, but districts could only choose between the options provided. He said some districts have made masks optional.

School board members Brenda Fairley-Ferebee and Craig Lowry said the decision was made in the best interests of students and staff. Fairley-Ferebee said some schools without a blanket warrant had to operate virtually after COVID-19 cases rose in classrooms.

The school district has three identified groups, Williamson said.

One cluster event involved an entire grade level at Piney Grove Elementary School, Locklear said. A cluster is an event defined by the link between five or more cases.

The numbers are updated once a week on the school district’s website. Locklear also said security measures continue and guards continue to frequently use backpack sprayers to disinfect schools.

As of Tuesday, the school district had completed installing air purifiers in 20 schools, Locklear said.

Lumberton High School Soccer Field Name

Also on Tuesday, members of the board of directors unanimously approved the name of the LHS football field “Kenneth W. Simmons Football Facility”.

The facility is named after longtime football coach Kenny Simmons, who is retiring on Friday. Simmons has been a soccer coach for more than 25 years, according to Jerome Hunt, PSRC athletic director.

The school district held a public forum on Nov. 30 regarding the nomination and received positive feedback, Hunt said.

Simmons was a soccer coach for the Lumberton High men’s teams for 28 years and for 27 years for the women’s teams. He has also received the Regional Coach of the Year award six times.

Other topics

Also on Tuesday, Celestine Frazier was recognized as the 2022 North Carolina Association of Educators Support Professional of the Year. Frazier is a teaching assistant at WH Knuckles Elementary School and a representative of the NCAE.

The president of the Robeson Educators Association, Dee Grissett, presented the award to Frazier and described her as “dedicated, reliable and reliable”.

Board members also approved fundraisers, a monthly financial report, and changes to the 8000 and 9000 series of policies.

After coming out of a closed session, council approved the staff as amended. The subject was not discussed further.

Contact Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or by email at [email protected]


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