LIMA — Nearly $3.9 million is being funneled to schools in Allen County through the CARES Act, the legislation passed by Congress to help schools make up for money lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding comes at a time when schools need a boost.
It will allow schools to purchase educational technology for students — including hardware, software, and connectivity. It also will provide funds for schools to plan and implement activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students and students with disabilities.
Of the $3.9 million earmarked for Allen County, 87 percent — or $3.36 million — will go to public schools with private schools receiving $512,917.
Jill Ackerman, superintendent of Lima City Schools, sees the funding addressing multiple needs. The $2 million Lima schools received was the most for one school district in Allen County.
“Our funding will be used for technology for our students, hot spot purchases for instruction that is needed to align with online learning, training for our teachers in our blended learning platform, supplies needed such as thermometers, masks, face shields, spit guards, sanitation stations and needs for buses to be compliant,” she said.
CARES is the acronym for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Bath Schools Supt. Rich Dackin noted the money will help offset funding the school lost.
“Our state foundation monies were cut $284,189,” said Dackin. “We received $232,360 from the CARES Act. The guidelines for usage of CARES Act monies surrounding improving distance learning and acquiring sanitation equipment and/or training. We have allocated our monies towards purchases of foggers, face masks, thermometers, laptops and a K-12 learning management system called Schoology.”
Dackin says Bath also expects to use funds when schools reopen.
“We will need cleaning supplies and equipment to operate for next fall. Also, we are preparing for the possibility of another distance learning scenario and are attempting to get 1:1 in the entire district as well as implementing a new K-12 learning management system (Schoology) that will enable us to be better at providing a more consistent educational and communication platform for parents, students and teachers,” Dackin said.
At Allen East schools, the money will help with some shortfalls. It received $103,162.
“The entire amount will be used to eliminate the deficit in the food service account,” said Mel Rentschler, superintendent of Allen East schools. “Food service is supposed to be budget neutral with the amount charged taking care of expenses such as employee wages and salaries. The food service department took a huge hit during the mandated shut down at Allen East. Ohio Revised Code states employees still have to be paid during an epidemic so our salaries and benefits were still going out with zero revenue coming in during the shutdown in the cafeteria. The funds will be used to pay off the deficit so the general fund will not have to make up the amount lost.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.