Seattle local business news and data – Construction

September 17, 2020

10 business development tips for a COVID-19 world

Johnston Training Group


Goodbye, handshakes and exchanging business cards; hello, Zoom and chat windows. According to a recent survey by Zweig Group, 90% of AEC firms say COVID-19 will affect overall business development activities in the next 12 months. And yet business must go on and new work must be pursued.

Here are 10 ways to stay engaged with existing connections and build business.

1. Take the lead. COVID-19 is changing how schools, workplaces, and more are designed and built. What is your firm doing differently as a result? Can you team up with another firm and offer a webinar or other virtual service? Collaborate with your colleagues, partners, or clients to be a thought leader.

Dara t’Sas, director of marketing at BCRA, said, “Now more

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Teacher’s union sues Cuomo administration over school funding | Local News


ALBANY — New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the union for public school teachers, has filed a lawsuit against the Cuomo administration, charging its mid-year cuts to school aid violate the state’s constitution.

Numerous districts have already laid off teachers and instructional aides in preparation for reductions in state aid.

The Norwich School District in Chenango County, for instance, has already idled 44 of its employees this month in response to the cut in funding from Albany, according to NYSUT.

“Our students and families deserve better than staffing and program cuts just as we begin a new school year with unprecedented challenges,” Andy Pallotta, the union’s president, said. “A high-quality education is a vital service that’s central to helping communities thrive.”

The Cuomo administration argued the union is distorting the severity of the modifications to school funding. It suggested that NYSUT instead focus on backing its call for a $59

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Price tag put on school project | Local News

The city’s combined elementary school construction project now has a price tag for taxpayers. 

If the residents of Gloucester approve the debt exclusion on Nov. 3, the city has projected that it will cost Gloucester homeowners $.20/$1,000 to cover the almost $40 million of expenses to combine East Gloucester and Veterans’ Memorial Elementary School. 

“We are trying to moderate what the impact is going to be on the tax rate,” said the city’s Chief Financial Officer John Dunn, noting that if a home was assessed at $500,000, the total increase of taxation would be $100 a year. 

The Massachusetts School Building Association has agreed to grant $26.9 million towards funding the construction project, which has a total estimated cost of $66.7 million. 

If the Nov. 3 vote goes in favor of the project, Gloucester taxpayers will see the city exceed the state’s Proposition 2 ½ tax cap for the time

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Enrollment has remained steady in local school districts | Morgan County

Enrollment has remained relatively steady in local school districts compared to a year ago, increasing in Hartselle City Schools and decreasing slightly in both the Decatur City and Morgan County school systems.

Decatur City Schools’ total enrollment was 8,764 students as of Monday, which is 78 fewer students than in last year’s official enrollment number used to calculate funding. The district’s official enrollment for this academic year will be calculated after the completion of 20 days of school following Labor Day.

Superintendent Michael Douglas said during a news conference Monday the less than 1% drop in students is a relief, since he initially feared losing teacher units due to lower enrollment numbers.

“That’s right where we were last year,” Douglas said. “I was extremely concerned with the pandemic that we would lose numbers and that would cause us in turn to lose teacher units, but we’ve held where we are.”

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City budget reappropriations to bolster department funding | Local News

CHEYENNE – The city is in the process of reappropriating funds for its fiscal year 2021 budget, and within the budget amendments are three general fund requests – one for the Cheyenne Police Department for a crime analyst, one for Community Recreation and Events to better fund park staff, and one for the city attorney’s office for public defender funding.

Introduced at the Cheyenne City Council meeting Monday night, the budget amendments also reflect a reduction in spending for the last months of fiscal year 2020.

As the city braced for the financial effects of COVID-19, city department heads made cuts where they could to meet the projected revenues. That led the city of Cheyenne to spend $5,303,890 less than originally budgeted for general fund expenditures.

The expenditures were still higher than the actual revenues, but for fiscal year 2020, the Cheyenne City Council also approved $7,461,287 in spending from

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UNHCR Representative inaugurates skills development project for refugee and local women in Quetta

The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Noriko Yoshida on Thursday inaugurated a skills development project aimed at improving the skills and income-generating capacity of local and Afghan refugee women in Quetta.

UNHCR Pakistan had signed its first-ever agreement with NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), a private sector partner based in the United Arab Emirates, to conduct a project to support and empower marginalized Afghan refugee and local women through skill development and enhancement in Balochistan.

The project – being implemented by UNHCR’s partner Taraqee Foundation – will benefit 100 Afghan refugee and Pakistani women. These women will not only be trained but also be given monthly stipends to support their family while they are working.

NAMA’s affiliate, IRTHI Contemporary Crafts Council, and UNHCR will be working in partnership to provide artisanal training.

The project will be implemented in two skill centres including at Ghoasabad and Hazara Town. Some 100 skilled

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Local schools could lose millions under current funding formula

Johnson County schools could lose millions of dollars if virtual students aren’t fully funded by the state.

As it stands, starting in January, virtual students will be funded at just 85% of the rate of an in-school student if that student attends school in-person less than half the time.

Gov. Eric Holcomb earlier this month said he would ask the Indiana State Board of Education to call a special meeting to delay the fall count of student enrollment, known as the Average Daily Membership, through at least December. That count is used to set new funding levels for schools.

Center Grove schools, the county’s largest district, stands to lose the most of any Johnson County school district if the current funding formula is used. The district shifted from full-time in-person learning at its high school and two middle schools this week after the school district reported 316 COVID-19-related student absences,

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Idaho to fully restore school budget cuts, add aid to parents | Local News

BOISE — Idaho will tap federal CARES Act funds to make back up the $99 million it’s cut from the public school budget, plus another $50 million that will go directly to Idaho families to help parents cover school-related expenses for their kids amid the pandemic.

Gov. Brad Little announced the decisions Friday at a news conference in the Lincoln Auditorium at the state Capitol.

“Supporting K-12 education in Idaho is our constitutional and moral responsibility, and it’s my top priority as governor,” Little declared. “My goal is to make Idaho a place where our children choose to stay and for those who left to choose to return. We simply cannot meet that goal without a strong public education system in place. … The stresses on our kids, families and educators right now are enormous.”

The cut to this year’s public school budget was imposed July 1 at the start

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Funding To Be Considered For Energy Efficiency Upgrades In Schools | Local News

While addressing how to educate students during the coronavirus has brought unexpected changes to the Greene County School System in the past six months, it is still facing older issues such as aging HVAC systems in its facilities.

The first step proposed in addressing the replacement of the HVAC units will be considered soon by the Greene County Commission in the form of approving a multi-million-dollar contract with a company to implement measures for energy savings to help pay for the new heating and cooling equipment.

A contract between the school system and Schneider Electric Buildings Americas, Inc. was given approval by the Commission’s Budget and Finance Committee on Thursday. It will now be considered by the full commission.

The contract is for $8.9 million in measures to help improve energy efficiency within school system facilities and address the HVAC issues. Currently, 44% of units within the system have been

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Readers’ Views: Local schools need more funding to reopen | Opinion

The recent article, “Pottsgrove rolls out two-pronged reopening plan,” shows how difficult a job local school districts have ahead of them as they prepare to carry out re-opening plans for the fall. None of this is easy — not for administrators, not for teachers and staff, and not for parents and students.

School districts are also dealing with revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19 that have forced them to put important projects on hold, leave open positions unfilled, and cut technology and curriculum budgets, among other cuts. Because of necessary safety precautions like those being taken in Pottsgrove, reopening comes with additional costs for the 2020-21 school year.

This summer, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a budget that protects schools from state funding cuts, but that will not address massive local funding shortfalls over the next year. That’s why Congress needs to step up and do its part, while in the meantime our

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