The Wednesday night Fulton Public Schools Board of Education meeting began on a somber note with a moment of silence in memory of a student.
Fulton High School junior Xander Noel, 17, died after suffering injuries during a vehicle crash over the weekend.
"To the classmates and staff, I have no words," board member Andy Bonderer said before calling the meeting to order. "There's no Scripture or poem that's going to make this magically OK. It's a tough road ahead for us. But we will find comfort in each other. We are a strong community. We build on our relationships. We lean on each other, we help each other and we will comfort each other as we grieve this tragic loss."
On the agenda for the April meeting was recognition of staff and students, the swearing in of two returning school board members, updates on facility projects and talk of the budget.
Members Leah Baker and Jackie Pritchett were sworn in. Pritchett was also elected board president, replacing Bonderer, who has served in the position for the past year. Bonderer was elected vice president. Baker was elected as board secretary.
Leslie Backstrom of Architect's Alliance presented the board with drawings of the future Fulton High School addition.
Once completed, FHS will have a new secure entrance and gymnasium. The drawings showed a redesigned front entrance with large windows and a slanted roof.
Construction will begin this summer and wrap up by fall 2022.
"We will be isolated out there where the addition is, and that lets us stay separate from the school and leave the exterior wall intact so school functions as it should," said Mitchell Fuemmeler of construction manager at-risk firm Nabholz Construction. "Our goal is it doesn't feel like construction is going on during school."
At McIntire and Bush elementary schools, the district plans on parking lot improvements.
The board unanimously approved two contracts Wednesday night — with Christensen Construction Co. for McIntire and C.L. Richardson Construction Co. for Bush.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the trade in and purchase of three buses for $254,584.
Superintendent Ty Crain discussed finances, noting that more Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds are expected as a result of the pandemic to address learning gaps.
"There is still a lot of unknown there," Crain said. "ESSER can be a little bit murky. I know it's been approved at the federal level, I know the money's coming in, but we're still waiting on a number of details there to come through. But again, both ESSER II and III, we're looking at a two- or three-year plan on how we're going to utilize these funds in a lot of different ways."
Crain said the district was in a good place this fiscal year. With regards to next year, the district is finalizing building budgets.
Crain also brought several compensation recommendations to the board. The recommendation included a $500 base salary increase in the 2021-2022 teacher salary schedule, a minimum wage increase in the 2022 classified schedule and corresponding increases to non-schedule positions.
The board approved the items unanimously.