The Paris Special School District board voted to approve financial matters that include new federal funding and bonus pay for school staff during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting.

Director of Schools Norma Gerrell discussed an internet connectivity grant given by the federal government for COVID-19 relief, which will be used for internet hotspots at PSSD schools.

It was also announced that Gov. Bill Lee approved $70,500 in state funds to be used for a one-time pay bonus of $500 for each certified PSSD school staff member.

In correlation, the board approved using local funds to provide bonuses for support staff members, such as cafeteria workers and bus drivers. According to Gerrell, full-time support staff members will receive a $400 bonus and part-time support staff will get $200.

“We have a great group of teachers that have gone far and beyond anything we could expect of them, especially with how much has been done virtually. I have to brag on them,” said Gerrell.

The board then briefly discussed a sidewalk project for Wilson Street. In particular, a 60-foot strip of road extending from Lone Oak Drive to Patriot Avenue was discovered to be owned by the PSSD.

“The City of Paris has requested us to allow them to have ownership of that street. I suggest we give that strip to the city for them to be able to maintain their work for the project,” said Gerrell.

The board voted to approve transferring ownership of the street.

Joey Brush, supervisor of instruction for the PSSD, provided learning gap updates on test results for benchmark assessment testing for students in grades 2-8.

“In English/language arts scores for a benchmark assessment given right before Christmas break, compared to the year before, three grades have improved, two are within one percent of where they were last year and one grade fell off more than we would have liked,” said Brush.

Brush also said that all but two grades showed an increase in proficiency from testing done earlier in the school year.

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