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District gets strong financial report

by By I.C. Murrell Pine Bluff Commercial | January 13, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.
White Hall School District Superintendent Doug Dorris told the school board Tuesday night that an enrichment program will help students who want or need additional support in advanced classes. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

The White Hall School District received a positive financial report for the first six months of its fiscal year as officials anticipate receiving federal funding from the $900 billion stimulus package enacted Dec. 27.

How much money the district will receive is yet to be announced, said Doug Brown, the district’s finance director, but each state determines how the money is shared. He said he hopes the funding will range from $1.2 million to $1.5 million to help with personal protective equipment costs.

“Hopefully we’re looking for those figures in the next week or so,” Brown said. “Every school district has to get PPE ordered because we have been delayed in ordering until that passed.”

Brown told the White Hall School Board that the district saw an increase of $1.3 million in non-federal program funds over the past six months. Expenditures from that category were estimated at $400,000, leaving the school district at about $900,000 “in the good,” Brown said.

The positive total was anticipated because a local business made a delinquent tax payment of $700,000 in July, he said.

“So, the net $900,000 is a one-time enhancement from a delinquent industry in our district,” Brown said. “We were boosted for this fiscal year, and we anticipate enough funds coming in to maintain that level. We have cut back in certain areas, and we did increase our salary schedules at the beginning of the school year.”

The White Hall School District announced its summer school program known as the Bulldog Acceleration & Enrichment Summer Academy, which is scheduled for June 1-30. Middle- and high school students will meet at White Hall High School. Elementary students will meet at Moody Elementary and, if an additional site is needed, Hardin Elementary.

District Superintendent Doug Dorris said the acceleration path will help students that test below grade level in math or reading or made D’s or below in a core class. The enrichment piece will help students who want or need additional support in advanced classes for the coming school year.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost, Dorris said. A student will be allowed two absences before being dropped from the program.

In other district news:

Employees will receive up to 10 days of paid leave for the spring semester if they need to go on covid-19 emergency leave. Under the policy, the employee will be responsible for showing proof that he has received a quarantine or isolation order, or if the employee needs to take leave to care for a dependent, showing a written statement indicating the relationship with the dependent, the dependent’s age and that the employee is the only person capable of caring for the dependent.

Of 2,888 students enrolled in the district, 8% are participating in virtual learning, curriculum and federal programs director Debbie Jones said.

A video highlighting the arrival of a plasma metal cutting machine for Future Farmers of America was shown to the board.

White Hall High School’s Caps Day, which is a registration period for the next school year’s classes, has been moved up from April 16 to Feb. 26 for current freshmen and juniors. The April date will remain for sophomores.

Print Headline: District gets strong financial report

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