Five-year capital plan approved

In a special called meeting Monday afternoon, the Oneonta City Board of Education approved the system’s fiscal year capital plan. The five-year plan has to be approved and submitted to the state board of education by Sept. 30 each year.

Superintendent Daniel Smith stated that some of the capital projects listed on the plan are currently under way, such as the addition of the new arts wing. He said even though it will be done by the end of 2020, completion comes in the new fiscal year so it must be included.

Another ongoing project is the addition of the baseball complex. Preliminary work was done over the course of 2019-2020. The board previously opened bids for completion of the project, which was awarded to the low bidder, Coston General Contractors, Architect. The $2.1-million project should be complete by March 1, 2021.

In his report to the board, Smith said that as the schools approach the end of the first nine weeks, discussions had begun on how to proceed for the remainder of the first semester. The hybrid learning plan was approved for only the first nine weeks.

“We did that to give us time to see how it would work and to help mitigate the spread,” he said. “I do feel like it has worked. I know it has been hard, but we’ve been fairly successful in keeping the number of cases down.”

Assistant superintendent Lauren Wilson said that currently one elementary student is out as a result of a positive test. Three other students are home for the 14-day quarantine period as a result of exposure along with the students’ siblings. One high school student is currently home, also confirmed to have COVID-19. There are currently three employees who are quarantined. Two are teachers whose spouses have tested positive.

“We’ve still got a couple of weeks to see where we are,” Smith said, “but we will have to make a decision at the meeting on Sept. 28. We see positives for both staying with the hybrid system and moving on into the traditional model. We want our kids back. But more than anything, we want to be able to protect them and keep them safe while they are here.

“I commend our teachers for all they are doing and have done this year. It’s been hard on them to do all that they are having to do right now. And I also want to thank Lisa Faust and AEA for all she and they have done to support our teachers through all of this.”

Smith reported that through the USDA, schools were now able to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students through the end of 2020. Remote students come pick up their meals for the week on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the back of the school at the cafeteria doors. For the first pick up, which includes breakfast and lunch for the week, 280 bags were picked up for a total meal count of 2,240.

All members of the board were present. The board meets for its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. in the Oneonta High School library.