Winfield USD 465 received all the reimbursement money it requested from the SPARKS funding, but they will not know how much of their request for direct aid will be honored until school district representatives meet with the Cowley County Commission on Oct. 1 to present their request. The county commission must ultimately approve the direct aid requests from organizations.

“We just learned on Monday that we would have to make the presentation,” Superintendent Dr. Nathan Reed said.

USD 465 received $45,373.64 in reimbursements for such items as personal protective equipment and technology ordered by and paid for by the school district. The district turned in the receipts for those products to the SPARKS committee for reimbursement.

The district has requested about $770,000 in direct aid, according to Reed. That aid was requested for more technology, PPE and professional development.

Director of Technology and Operations Kent Tamsen said at Monday night’s board of education meeting the district still has not received all the technology they ordered, so that if the education levels were to be moved up to 2 or 3 because of a rise in coronavirus cases, the district would not have enough Chromebooks for every student who needed them for remote learning.

“The companies have a backlog of orders,” Tamsen said. “Many districts are waiting for more technology.”

The largest part of the request for aid is for professional development, Reed said, so teachers and staff can receive more technology training, as well as more training on other aspects of handling the coronavirus.

Desaree Groene, principal of Country View Elementary School and Winfield Early Learning Center, said because the contract with teachers was not signed until late in the summer, teachers were not under contract long enough to get all the training they needed before school started.

“We need to get them more training,” said Groene, who is one of the leaders of the district committee planning how to handle the coronavirus.

In other business, the board of education approved giving authority to the superintendent to change the level of learning if needed without having to meet with the BOE before doing so. If there were a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, for example, and the superintendent couldn’t meet within 24 hours with the board, having the power to change the learning level would enable him to move the district into a more protective level faster.

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