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Clay County School Director Sees Positives Of Busy Summer

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Clay County School Director Sees Positives Of Busy Summer

It has been a polar opposite summer compared to last year for Clay County Director of Schools Matt Eldridge.

Eldridge said that while it has been a busy summer, it is much better than the unknowns of 2020. However, Eldridge said it is still a summer unlike any before as an administrator.

“All through most director of school’s careers you always are saving money, you can’t spend it, you don’t have enough,” Eldridge said. “Now we’ve got money and with the cost of everything going up. Then also it’s hard to find contractors and workers to get them to build.”

Eldridge said getting federally funded ESSER projects lined up has been a good problem to have. Eldridge said it has forced the system to narrow its focus on capital improvements while also preparing to open school.

“We’re trying to talk on where to spend money, we’ve got a deadline of when to spend it and how we can spend it,” Eldridge said. “That’s why we’re trying to do it in the most efficient manner. That’s why we’re having community meetings, that’s why we’re getting input from everyone we can. It can very well, believe this or not, be a challenge to have extra money to spend.”

ESSER spending has not been the only focus of the system this summer.

Eldridge said the new summer learning camps went smooth and viewed it as an opportunity for students to catch up on both education and socializing with friends. Eldridge said all the work over the last year has been worth it to see a return to normalcy, without masks required when school begins.

“It gave some of them a chance to catch up on some education if they had any lost education,” Eldridge said. “It also made sure that a lot of them were fed while they were with us. They got to enjoy time with each other as well as learn some too.”

Eldridge said that temperature checks will still be available for students that feel sick. He said the system only had to close for three days during the pandemic.


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