7 Clark County school districts to get over $1M in another round of federal aid

A classroom at Hayward Middle School set up for the new school year with social distancing. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
A classroom at Hayward Middle School set up for the new school year with social distancing. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Ohio’s K-12 schools will get another round of funding as the State Controlling Board has approved the release of $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funding for schools as they prepare to reopen.

According to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management, the money can be used for things such as protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation, and remote learning.

Of the $100 million, just over $1 million will be given to schools in Clark County.

Springfield City Schools is the largest local district and will receive the biggest share of this aid at $418,722.

The district’s superintendent said he sees the funding as a way of addressing multiple needs.

“The first is to assist with necessary supplies for cleaning, maintenance and sanitation services. The second is to ensure that needed technological supports are in place to serve our approximately 7,700 students, both in the classroom and virtually,” said Superintendent Bob Hill.

The district’s treasurer added that the district is “always appreciative” of any additional funding for the schools, “which are proving to be expensive for a district our size,” said Treasurer Nicole Cottrell.

Northeastern Local Schools will receive the second largest share at $173,271, in which Superintendent John Kronour said will help cover costs that are “key” to the reopening plan.

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Tecumseh Local Schools superintendent said they are thankful to receive the third largest share at $163,623.

“We are very appreciative of any financial assistance that we can receive to help us navigate this situation,” said Superintendent Paula Crew.

Crew said they plan to use the new funds to hire two additional nurses.

“We currently have three full-time nurses and they share five buildings. We are apprehensive to not have nurses present in the buildings the entire day, so this will permit us to have a nurse in our five buildings the full day,” she said.

The additional nurses will only be hired for one school year to help the district get through COVID-19, Crew said.

“We cannot financially sustain a nurse at each building long term, but we’re fortunate to look at that to navigate the pandemic by utilizing the two nurses,” she said.

Clark-Shawnee and Northwestern will receive $96,49. Greenon will receives $86,804, while Southeastern will get $41,083 and the Global Impact STEM Academy will receive $21,192.

Clark-Shawnee superintendent said that although the funds will help with reopening, it only makes up some of what was cut from the budget in May.

“While $96,491 will help support our reopening efforts to keep our learning environment healthy for students and staff, it is important to note that this funding makes up less than 25% of the state funding cut from our budget in May,” said Superintendent Brian Kuhn.

The aid is distributed based on student enrollment, with some additional funding to support transportation obligations, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students.

This money comes after Gov. Mike DeWine announced a bipartisan agreement with legislative leaders on the funding breakdown.

“Throughout this summer, we are working in Columbus to make sure local schools receive the help they need to face the financial burdens brought on by this pandemic,” said State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). “The approval of this significant funding today will help them moving forward as they transition back to the classrooms as we face challenges that COVID-19 presents.”

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This $100 million marks the latest of multiple ups and downs in school funding in the past few months.

First, Ohio leaders cut K-12 schools’ state funding by $355 million in May and June because of coronavirus-related state budget woes.

Second, the federal CARES Act provided $489 million to Ohio K-12 schools, although the state cuts and the federal grants used different formulas.

Third, in June, Ohio’s state legislature passed a bill restoring $23 million to those wealthier school districts — not making them whole but providing them “offset payments.”

All these changes come as schools saved small amounts of money this spring on bus fuel, spring sports and a few other categories, but increased spending on computers, Wi-Fi hotspots and other unexpected needs.

In this new round of funding, Clark County’s total is nearly $1.94 million, split among seven school district, seven nonpublic schools, one STEM school, two charters and one career technology center.

In Champaign County, five school districts will receive a nearly combined $386,000 – Urbana City Schools will get $113,665.64; Graham Local will get $111,620.06; West Liberty-Salem Local will get $59,013.88; Triad Local will get $56,112.73; and Mechanicsburg Exempted Village will get $45,364.45.

Facts & Figures

$1 million: Amount of aid going to Clark County schools

7: Number of Clark County schools receiving money

$386,000: Amounty Champaign County schools will receive

5: Number of schools in Champaign County receiving funds