NEWPORT—The Newport City Board of Education held their monthly meeting in the Newport Grammar School auditorium Monday night. Main topics included the contractor bid for the cafeteria roof and the discussion of this year’s eighth grade Class Night.

A gathering to recognize the NGS basketball and volleyball teams and cheerleaders preceded the meeting.

Mischelle Black and Kathy Ragan gave their COVID-19 report, including news that all teachers who wanted to be vaccinated now have appointments scheduled.

So far this month, the district has reported seven students and four staff members who have tested positive for the virus. Twenty-five students and two staff members have been exposed and are quarantining.

Cafeteria Manager Christina Leas reported that round three of Pandemic EBT assistance for remote and hybrid students who would otherwise be fed at school was in progress.

Federal Programs Supervisor Amy Burchette announced the scheduled speakers for this summer’s back-to-school in-service. Aug. 3 will feature “Celebrity Teen Coach” Jesse LeBeau. YouTube educator Jack Hartmann will speak on Aug. 4, and teacher and author Erin Gruwell will speak on Aug. 6.

Systems and Assessments Supervisor Dr. Justin Norton reported that the school has received 272 new student Chromebooks. NGS now has one Chromebook for every student in the building. Norton also announced that NGS qualified for 26 mobile hotspots provided at no cost by T-Mobile for remote students without internet access.

Vice-Chair Mickey Powers brought up to Director Sandra Burchette the possibility of a special trip for this year’s Beta Club qualifiers. Because there was no trip last year due to COVID, Powers posited that this year’s eighth graders would otherwise be the only class to not have any trip for either of their seventh or eighth grade years. Burchette agreed to look into the matter further.

Board Chair Jan Brooks announced that next month’s meeting is scheduled for March 15.

Kindergarten registration for the 2021-22 school year is scheduled for April 20 and 22, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. outside the nurse’s office.

Brooks also announced that the Director’s contract will be discussed at next month’s meeting.

The board reviewed the option to schedule a remote 8th grade Class Night for May 25, but board members Seth Butler and David Perryman were hesitant to make a concrete decision three months in advance.

“I’d like to see an option. If the numbers would go down and everything is looking good, maybe we could have it [in person], instead of closing it down right now in February,” said Perryman.

“We’re sitting here in February and we don’t know what May is going to look like,” said Butler. “Personally, I don’t think we need to open the gym up to ten thousand people, but I also feel that we’ve hosted basketball games, and for those kids who don’t play sports, it would be unfair to have an eighth grade class night if possible.”

The board voted to table the discussion of the eighth grade class night and the drive-through parade in the gym parking lot until next month’s meeting, when more information regarding the decision would be available.

The board voted in favor of a Hat Day fundraiser on March 5 for the sixth grade.

The final item of discussion for the night was whether to accept Ridge Roofing’s bid to repair the cafeteria and gym lobby roof. Ridge Roofing was the lowest bid for the job, which raised concern with David Perryman.

“Traditionally, if I were contracting this as an individual, I wouldn’t take the low bid or the high bid. It scares me that he’s the low bid.”

Director Burchette assured Mr. Perryman that the district is very familiar with Ridge Roofing’s work in the area.

After discussion, the motion to accept Ridge Roofing’s bid was passed unanimously.

Seth Butler motioned to adjourn the meeting, and Nathaniel Vernon seconded.

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