ISD 318 Provides Update on COVID-19 Funding
At the ISD 318 School Board meeting on Monday, August 16, Business Manager Kara Lundin provided an update on funds the district has received for pandemic relief. “To-date the district has been awarded $11 million in COVID relief funds, however, much of that comes with different requirements and allowable spend dates,” explained Lundin.
Knowing that a third wave of funds was going to be provided by the federal government, the district identified four priorities in spending. Funds are being used to provide academic interventions and student support to help students with learning gaps; to create and expand systems to detect and respond to increased mental health and behavioral needs; to ensure adequate staffing for effective and safe instruction; and to invest in physical learning environments to improve teaching and learning conditions, health and safety, and operational efficiency.
“Because our district continues to feel the impact of the pandemic, we know that the money cannot be spent all at once,” said Lundin. “As of the end of our fiscal year on June 30, we have spent only 22% of the funding.”
“Our school district has continued to see a reduction in compensatory funds and will take time to recover from the drop in enrollment during the 2020-2021 school year. While significant cuts were made during the budgeting process, we’re still concerned about spending moving forward,” said ISD 318 Superintendent Matt Grose.
Compensatory aid is allocated to the school district based on the number of families who receive educational benefits like free or reduced meals. Because all meals are free with the support of COVID funding, it is possible this number could continue to decrease.
“Families should know that there are additional benefits that come with the educational benefit form. In addition to discounts for families, approved applications bring an average of $1,400 per student in federal funding,” said Superintendent Grose. The educational benefits form is available online at www.isd318.org/edbenefits.
While much of the economy has improved with an easing of restrictions put in place due to the pandemic, schools will take time to recover. “We want to make sure we are planning for supports for our students and staff as they continue to feel the impacts of COVID-19,” said Superintendent Grose.
A list of areas in which the COVID Relief Funds were spent is available on the school district’s website at isd318.org under at Departments> Business Office> COVID Spending.