RSS could receive $4 million in COVID-19-related funding

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 29, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY – Rowan-Salisbury Schools could receive $4 million to help the district get back on its feet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That funding could come this fiscal year if it hits a submission deadline of Monday. The funding opportunity was addressed at a special called meeting by the RSS Board of Education Thursday morning.

Director of Federal Programs Jerri Hunt said the state has advised school districts to submit applications for their portion of the $396 million in K-12 funds distributed to North Carolina as a result of the CARES Act stimulus package quickly to secure the funding in this fiscal year. Those applications can later be amended.

The $4 millions does not include an estimated $700,000 taken from the total to be distributed to private schools by RSS at an estimated $50,000 each

The budget for the funding is split between curriculum, exceptional children, student services and counseling, technology, maintenance and facilities.

An estimated $1.2 million in the RSS plan would go toward curriculum to provide software support over the summer, access for E.C. students, summer learning and professional development to support remote learning.

Exceptional children would receive $497,481 to go toward compensatory education, helping with learning regression due to the pandemic and tele-therapists.

Another $342,000 would go toward student services and counseling so the district could hire nurses on one-year, non-renewable contracts to handle greater health needs. The funding also includes screening for staff and students and more social and emotional material to combat trauma related to the pandemic.

Facilities and maintenance would receive the largest piece of the funding — $1.6 million ‚ for additional sanitation, soap , paper products, personal protective equipment, signage about COVID-19 and bottle filling stations to replace water fountains.

The funding comes with federal regulations applied to how it can be used. It is intended for preparing to return to school after the summer or to set up districts for success after more than two months out of the classroom. Those regulations apply to private schools, which accept funding as well.

Chief Financial Officer Carol Herndon said there is another allotment of CARES funding for which the district has fewer details on. The district is hoping to hear more in mid-June, though it does not know how much funding would be in that allotment.

Herndon added there has been conversation about the state providing more funding in the future as well.

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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