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Grand Blanc schools get extra $1 million for expanding in-person classes

By bringing students back to school buildings on March 22, the district can receive additional state funding.
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:43 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - One month ahead of schedule, Grand Blanc Community Schools is allowing all students back in the classroom four days a week.

It’s the first time in a year.

With this change, the district now meets a requirement by the state to receive more funding per student.

20 hours a week of face-to-face learning is what Grand Blanc Community Schools needed to make happen as of Monday, March 22.

And they did.

The district’s plan has students attending class five hours a day, four days a week. As a result, Superintendent Clarence Garner said GBCS will receive an extra million dollars in funding.

“You know that, that caused a lot of consternation for superintendents and for boards of education and for communities to try to make a decision like that in a very short time frame -- If you, you know we’re hoping to get some of these additional funds,” Garner said.

Grand Blanc brought back their elementary students four days a week at the beginning of the month. The plan was to have middle and high schoolers return in another month.

But by moving that up to Monday, March 22, the district will receive an extra $125 per student from the state.

It’s what called an “equalization payment.” It’s the result of a new Michigan law allowing the state to help bring up a district’s per pupil funding to $450.

The district was already receiving $325 per student in federal aid.

Superintendent Garner originally suggested an April 19th face-to-face start date for older students because it would’ve provided a two-week buffer after Spring Break.

“But in terms of staff and infrastructure, do I believe that we’re in a good position to bring it back on the 22nd? Yes I do,” he explained.

One reason why is because Garner explained right now much of the district’s staff has been vaccinated. He said fewer than 20 school employees are waiting to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

So what’s the plan with the total estimated $3.6 million the district is expecting?

After a year without face-to-face instruction, the Superintendent said a majority of it will cover extra academic support

“There’s some reading loss, there’s some math loss there; so, making sure that we have the interventionists to work with those students and additional staff needed to work with those kids to help catch those students up,” Garner shared.

Plus he said, because COVID-19 isn’t going away, the district will use some of the dollars to cover PPE, cleaning supplies and maybe to hire more custodians.

Only 1,100 students opted to stay virtual. That means about 7,000 students are part of in-person learning.

Every Friday is virtual instruction for everyone.

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