School board gets bond, COVID, equity updates | #education | #technology | #training


HOLLAND — A study session meeting of the Holland Public Schools board Monday included updates on several ongoing initiatives in the district.

District staff updated the board on bond work, COVID-19 plans, equity and inclusion work and more during the Monday, Nov. 1, meeting. 

Bond and finance update

Scott Powers, director of business and finance at HPS, updated the board on progress of the successful May 2021 bond and general district finances.

Powers reported that the initial drawings for work at Holland Middle School in Phase 1 of the bond are nearing completion. Bids for that work are expected to go out in the next month and the work will begin once school is out for the year. 

He also told the board that the contract with GMB Architecture and Engineer for design work in the bond should come to the board for approval later this month. A contract with a construction manager is also progressing, with “just a few items of disagreement” to sort out. 

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Powers told the board that, due to a higher than anticipated increase in state per pupil funding and initial enrollment being above projections, the district’s budget is looking better-than-projected.

The budget adopted in June had HPS ending the year with a fund balance of 8.5 percent of expenditures. If current projections, expenditures and revenues hold, Powers said, that could increase to 12.9 percent. 

Possible semester changes

Deputy Superintendent Karen Sherwood shared that the district will be discussing some possible changes for the second semester. One she highlighted is potentially moving lunch back into cafeterias, instead of having students eat in their classrooms.

The main issue that would come with that change is extending the school day. If lunch is moved back to the cafeteria, HPS would have to add time for students getting to and from lunch and waiting for service. 

“The goal of this is to provide hot lunch for students as much as possible,” Sherwood said. “That would, of course, shift our day if that’s what we decide and obviously would shift some of our transportation.

“We really want to have a discussion to see what is the best option for everyone to try to relieve some of the stress on our staff and our students.” 

Equity and inclusion update

Director of Equity and Inclusion Taran McZee provided updates on a series of projects in his department. 

McZee reported the citizens advisory committee will be meeting with the team from West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology to review the final findings from a community equity discussion later this month. Results from the discussion will then be presented to the board in January, McZee said. 

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The district is also recognizing Native American Heritage Month this month, with McZee distributing teaching materials and resources throughout the district. He is also working on lining up a guest speaker to discuss Native American culture and myths about Thanksgiving. 

Students and staff in the district will also have the option to participate in Queer and Trans 101 training this month. McZee explained that this is optional and will take place outside school hours for students. Letters will be sent to parents explaining the training this week. 

The training was something that students requested, McZee said.

— Contact reporter Mitchell Boatman at mboatman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch





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