Bartow County’s two school systems will be receiving more stimulus funding from the federal government to help lessen the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Georgia’s public schools have been allotted more than $1.7 billion – $1,702,883,356 – in federal stimulus funds under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, referred to as CARES 2.
On Jan. 14, the State Board of Education approved State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ recommendation to begin sending those funds to the school districts.
“We have been committed throughout the pandemic to allocating federal relief funds to districts as quickly and seamlessly as possible,” Woods said in a news release. “School districts will soon have access to CARES 2 funds to support their continued response to the pandemic and efforts to identify and remediate learning loss, address students’ mental and physical health needs and ensure the safety of students, teachers, staff and families.”
Bartow County Schools has been allotted $10.1 million from the second round of federal funding while Cartersville City Schools will receive $3,055,538.
“We are very happy to receive another round of stimulus funding to support a safe and secure learning environment for all students and staff in Bartow County schools,” Superintendent Dr. Phillip Page said.
“We are very thankful for the support the CARES Act will provide to our school district,” Cartersville Superintendent Dr. Marc Feuerbach said.
The CARES 2 funds are flexible and designed to help school districts offset expenditures related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including support for at-risk student populations, distance/remote learning, school meals, mental and physical health, supplemental learning and addressing learning loss, facilities and equipment and continuity of core staff and services, according to the release.
Page said district officials are in the early stages of preparing the fiscal year 2022 budget that will begin July 1, 2021, and they will determine how to best use the stimulus funds.
“Once we see what the state revenue will look like for next year, we will determine if the CARES Act 2 money will be needed to offset another state revenue reduction as it did this current year,” he said. “These funds will also be extremely helpful in offsetting increasing instructional and operational costs that have occurred in order to meet the needs of our students and staff.”
Feuerbach said Cartersville officials also will look at different ways of putting the money to the best use.
“We will be analyzing the most effective use of the funds in order to support our mission of providing a quality education to every student,” he said.
The $1.7 billion that Georgia school districts were allocated under CARES 2 is more than four times the $411 million in funding they received through the initial CARES Act, according to the Georgia Department of Education.
Unlike the initial CARES Act funding, these funds do not have an equitable services provision requiring districts to make funding available to private or independent schools within their geographic area.
Instead, Congress provided a separate allocation for those schools.
The funds are allocated based on a district’s proportionate share of Title I funding. For example, if a school district received 2% of Georgia’s overall share of Title I funding in fiscal year 2021, they will receive 2% of the CARES 2 allocation.
This funding formula is required by federal law, and the GaDOE does not have the authority to use a different funding method.