Corunna schools prepare to spend $1.5 million of COVID-19 relief money

Corunna Public Schools
Corunna Public Schools(source: WJRT)
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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CORUNNA, Mich. (WJRT) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature on a $4.4 billion COVID-19 relief package for schools means districts across Michigan will receive an unprecedented amount of funding.

For Corunna Public Schools, the superintendent wants to make sure students and staff get the most return on their investment. John Fattal said his district is expecting somewhere in the ballpark of around $1.5 million in one-time federal funding through the state.

“I know that certainly our staff, our teachers all deserve raises, but once this money is gone it’s going to be gone,” he said.

Fattal said the Board of Education has been very strategic in how that money is spent.

“We’re looking at infrastructure items that will help our district, technology, servers to help with technology, we’re looking at HVAC,” he said.

In May, the district passed two bonds totaling more than $7 million. Part of that bond money will provide air conditioning at Elsa Meyer Elementary School and Louise Peacock Preschool.

Fattal said the plan now is to explore whether they can use some of the federal funding to install air condition at the middle school and high school, as well. Already, the district was able to purchase Chromebooks for each student during the pandemic with previous federal funding.

Because districts are seeing a bus driver shortage, Corunna schools were able to buy several new sets of wheels to help with transportation to and from certain school sponsored events.

“Eighty five percent of every school district’s budget is tied into salaries, so if there are ways that we can increase that extra 15% and get some of the infrastructure that we typically can’t do, it would make sense to be able to do that,” Fattal said.

The one-time federal funding must be used by September 2024 and 20% of the funding must address learning loss. Fattal said that will likely be done through paying for summer school programming.

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