The Jamestown School Board received an update on the use of $21.1 million in American Rescue Plan funds for the district.
District Director of Budgets and Finance Brittnay Spry said of that $21.1 million, the District must reserve 20%, or $4.2 million, to combat learning loss.
She said the district has three categories of allowable use of the funds, including the return to in-person instruction, operations and technology; and addressing the impacts of COVID-19.
Spry said part of the money has already been used to get children back into the classroom, “A lot of the funds that have been spent so far have been used for things such as PPE, which is our masks, thermometers; accommodations for social distancing we needed to purchase – additional tables and chairs to meet the three foot mark and to be able to provide students an opportunity to eat at the social distancing requirements.”
Spry said the district also used funds to replace technology, purchase technology stations for classrooms, extended the Summer LEAP, JUMP and Bridge programs; hired additional staff to meet COVID-19 requirements for pool testing, and hired a literacy coordinator.
She said there are unique opportunities for future uses of the funds including coordinating social and emotional mental supports, “Instruction and professional development; equity, diversity and inclusion efforts; community engagement, additional technology and equipment upgrades; focusing on air quality and HVAC upgrades; general school operations, technical and career pathways; providing school supplies, extended school day support, tutoring and AIS; talent outreach, and support and development.”
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker encouraged parents to visit the district’s website at jpsny.com to review further information and take surveys on the use of funds.
Whitaker said while the categories on where to spend money must be finalized this month, the funds must be encumbered by September 2024 and spent by January 2025.
The School Board was treated to a special performance by the Madrigal Singers before the start of the meeting at Jamestown High School.
And School Board members also were recognized ahead of National School Board Recognition Week with a video presentation featuring JPS staff and students from all the different schools. Each school chose books to donate to their library in honor of each board member.