Tuesday evening the Nome School Board approved the final draft of its budget for Fiscal Year 2021 as well as the purchase of a new van and laptops.

The board continued its trend of holding meetings via Zoom in this week’s special meeting.

“We anticipate that our impact aid will be up slightly, and our other revenue will be down slightly.”

– Jamie Burgess

Nome Public Schools’ Superintendent, Jamie Burgess, goes on to say that there will be a slight adjustment to overall expenses for the school district due to the switch to a middle school model. Also, Burgess mentions expenses will go up slightly due to necessary staffing adjustments as well as a “small increase” in teacher salary schedules in the coming years. Burgess did not offer more details on the negotiated teacher salaries.

Burgess says there will, however, be some outside funding to count on from the CARES Act.

“We’ve been notified that the district should receive an anticipated approximately $195,000.”

This federal money will be used to cover costs incurred by the school district after the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. Burgess says that the school district is expecting to receive $3,000,000 in funding from the city. The total school budget included in the final version is approximately $14,000,000.

After passing the final budget for FY’21, the Nome School Board turned their discussion to more immediate purchases.

For example, the district’s current Special Education van is not physically capable of having a wheelchair ramp conversion, as was previously assumed. Now, the board has approved the purchase of a new van that will be wheelchair lift compatible.

The original van will be used at the elementary school for students whose Individual Education Plan mandates door to door transportation.

Lastly during Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved a purchase of new MacBook Airs for all teachers. This decision came after what Burgess described as “catastrophic failures” of current laptops, including one that occurred this week.

NPS’s Director of Technology Jim Schreve has a plan for the current laptops.

“We’re going to load Chrome OS onto those devices and repurpose them as student devices.”

The school district’s FY’21 budget now goes to the City Council for final approval. The Nome School Board is scheduled to hold its next regular meeting on May 12th.

Image at top: Nome School Board meeting in November of 2019 (Board member Darlene Trigg not pictured). Photo from KNOM.