During Huntingdon Area School Board’s monthly workshop session Jan. 8, superintendent Jennifer Mitchell said the district budget will get some relief through a technology grant the district received.

Technology service director David Myers was able to get the district $526,000 towards getting new iPads and Chromebooks through the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Though he had initially applied for a grant worth $1 million as a way to also pay for cases and management licenses, these costs can be covered through the district’s ESSER funds.

“The students can be pretty tough on the devices and they do not last forever,” Mitchell said. “So this is definitely a huge help for our budget since we will not need to pay out of pocket for them.”

She said that after the grant, the district only needs to potentially cover the cost of an additional 400 iPads.

Pupil services is also hoping for good news in the near future. According to district pupil services director Christopher Evans, they have applied for funding a mental health team at the middle school.

“We have one at Standing Stone that we applied for in 2017, but want to expand,” he said. “We have a lot of students in the middle school who have needs that could be met and helped with if given the chance.”

He said they had applied last year, but did not get it. If approved, they can begin hiring a team, which would then start in the fall of the 2022-23 school year.

During the meeting, the board also looked at the draft for the 2022-23 school calendar. Board member Dr. Dennis Plane said the way Mitchell laid it out makes it easier to read.

“As a parent, the different acronyms like I80 never made sense to me,” he said. “So this new layout will cause less confusion.”

One concern he has is early dismissal days. He said he doesn’t believe they are beneficial to a student’s education.

“They are not there long enough to really learn anything,” he said. “Are they really necessary?”

Mitchell said the ones slated are used ahead of holidays due to student and staff traveling and the others are used during parent teacher conferences.

Plane said he is fine with the current calendar, but Mitchell said they can discuss changes for dismissals in the future if it does become a problem.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Emily can be reached at eloose@huntingdondailynews.com.

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