The coronavirus pandemic has cost school districts a lot over the past year and a half, but De Soto School District has some economic relief.
The district’s education committee recently decided to accept $ 1.7 million from the Elementary and Secondary Education Emergency Fund (ESSER II) provided in the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was provided by the U.S. Congress was adopted in December 2020.
The De Soto School District will receive the funds from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and use them to cover COVID-19-related costs incurred in the 2020-2021 school year.
All but $ 7,511.50 of the $ 1.7 million will be used to cover employee salaries, benefits and insurance costs caused by the pandemic, Superintendent Josh Isaacson said.
He said the federal government agreed last year to reimburse school districts for up to 10 days of employee lost work time due to quarantine, either after a positive COVID-19 test or due to contact tracing.
That clause ended in 2020, but Isaacson said the board decided to extend the agreement to pay employees if they need to be quarantined in the second half of the 2020-2021 school year, and the district will be ESSER II – Use funds to reimburse the district for their payment.
“We were in class while many other companies were able to allow their employees to work from home,” he said.
The reimbursement concerned teachers and administrative staff as well as canteen workers, bus drivers, nurses, caretakers and other auxiliary staff.
The ESSER II funds will also be used to reimburse the district for consumables it has purchased, such as cases of medical gloves, masks, and food service items.
Isaacson said about $ 130,000 was used to cover the costs COVID-19 placed on the district’s self-insured health insurance program.
“Since we are self-insured, we could cover some of these costs,” he said. “We had vaccination clinics. While COVID tests and vaccinations were free, insurance was billed for administration costs of $ 10 or $ 11 per test or vaccination. That helped. “
De Soto District previously received $ 520,000 from Emergency Fund I for elementary and secondary schools provided under the state’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
That money, administered by Jefferson County, was used to pay for hotspots and Chromebooks so students could study from home, Isaacson said.
He said the CARES law money also provided local grants for grants paid for plastic barriers and additional postage the district incurred for sending information to students and parents while the school was out of the way from March to May 2020 Operation was.