Up to $4.5 million in CARES Act funding coming to local schools

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 24, 2020

SALISBURY – North Carolina is creating a plan to distribute its $396 million in CARES Act funding to K-12 schools, and Rowan-Salisbury Schools Chief Financial Officer Carol Herndon said the district is expecting to have up to $4.5 million in funding.

Herndon said the district has to submit an application and budget on how to use that funding. Talk about a plan for the funding is on the agenda for a special meeting of the RSS Board of Education on Thursday.

Herndon said the district received guidelines about how the funds would be distributed and what would be required of them on May 15. The district received the application template on Friday.

“We’re getting new information and revised information on a daily basis,” Herndon said.

Herndon said the district will be required to share part of the funding with local private schools as well.

“I don’t know how much will ultimately be ours to spend,” Herndon said.

The district is working on developing the budget right now. She said it’s a collaborative effort across the district, which has people working around the clock, something she noted has largely been the case since mid-March.

“We are putting all of our efforts into putting together something meaningful and effective to put in front of the board,” Herndon said, adding she did not have details to share because that plan was under construction during a Friday interview.

The district sent an electronic notice of the special meeting, which can be viewed using the teleconferencing software Zoom, on Thursday. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 8 a.m. and information necessary to join is on the front page of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools website — rssed.org.

Herndon said the intention of the plans from the federal government was to think about what it will take to open the next school year in the most safe and effective instructional environment possible.

About $13.5 billion in funding from the $2.2 trillion stimulus package support local education agencies. That $13.5 billion does not include an additional $3 billion in discretionary funding for governors to distribute in emergency grants to local schools and higher education.

An overview from the North Carolina Department of Public instruction says 0.5% of the funding can be reserved for state administration and 9.5% can be reserved for “state emergency needs,” adding up to nearly $40 million in reservations from the funds with a minimum of 90% of the funds to be allotted to local public schools and charter schools.

Herndon said the portion the district is required to share with private schools will be determined by a funding formula, and the district will coordinate that funding with private schools like other federal programs private schools qualify for.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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