WEYMOUTH – The Schools Department wants information from the public on how to spend nearly $ 7 million coming to the district through the federal emergency fund for elementary and secondary schools.

The district has so far received nearly $ 700,000 through the fund set up under the CARES Act as part of the Education Stabilization Fund. The district also expects an additional $ 2.9 million grant that will help pay for teaching coaches and interventionists, technology, and a universal all-day kindergarten.

“That’s $ 3 million that we didn’t have last year that we can pour into our current school year with positions that have been on our needs list for years and years,” said School Committee Chair Lisa Belmarsh recently held a school committee meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Brian Smith said the application and spending schedule for the city’s third round of funding – $ 6.8 million – is due in early October. The district plans to run a poll this Friday to get input from the public on how the money will be spent.

Smith said the survey will ask the public to prioritize five “buckets” of how they could be used, including community engagement, educational technology, mental health, operation and maintenance, and incomplete learning. It will also look for information on specific ways to spend the money.

Belmarsh said she cannot stress enough how effective the money will be, as the committee and administration are often looking for cuts rather than providing additional funding.

A student at Academy Avenue Elementary School gives Roary the Wildcat, the school mascot, a poke while he goes to school on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.  Mike Mejia / For The Patriot Ledger

“We now have almost $ 10 million for our schools. That has never happened in Weymouth,” she said.

She said she wants the district to use the money to explore the potential for free, universal preschools.

The city received a total of $ 17 million from the CARES Act in addition to funding for the school district.