Another $ 78 million is expected in the coming months
A new round of federal funding is giving a boost to Henrico County’s public schools – and an even larger amount is on the way shortly.
Henrico’s school board accepted a total of around $ 34.87 million on Thursday as part of federal funding efforts for elementary and secondary school emergency aid – money given to local school systems for pandemic aid under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act from 2020 was made available. And thanks to the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, HCPS expects an additional $ 78 million in the coming months.
The money approved by the board on Thursday will be used in three key areas over the next two fiscal years (the first of which begins July 1):
• $ 8.56 million for staff, funding 15 basic reading specialist positions, 30 school counseling positions and 13 elementary school assistant positions;
• $ 17.16 million for the operation, which will fund the purchase of 52 new school buses and 10 new minivans; additional hot spots and additional bandwidth for students; new security vestibules for 10 schools; HVAC repairs, building automation, and air filter and air purification purchases at a number of schools; and the replacement of HVAC units at others;
• $ 9.15 million for classroom materials, including summer school tuition and transportation, prep materials for grade 12 literacy programs; and other intervention and teaching resources.
Funding for some of these items (e.g., for new school buses valued at $ 4.7 million) was already included in the capital improvement program the Henrico Board of Directors approved earlier this month, so school officials will work with government officials to help determine how or whether to reallocate that money, HCPS new CFO John Wack told the school board.
ESSER II funds must be spent by September 30, 2023. The third round of funding under the program is due by September 30, 2024. The Henrico Schools previously received more than $ 9 million as part of the initial ESSER funding effort.
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