Updated at 11:00 a.m. Friday
The Prior Lake-Savage Area School District was allocated a total of $2,866,302 in coronavirus related funding earlier this year.
The largest portion of this funding is Coronavirus Relief Funds totaling $2,173,741 which were allocated in August. The district’s plans for these funds had to be determined by Oct. 1, Julie Cink, PLSAS Executive Director of Business Services said.
“Those are allocated to us and as we spend those we can get reimbursed. If we don't spend them by Dec. 30 we lose that funding. It’s a one time shot,” Cink said.
Here’s where the district has proposed to allocate the Coronavirus Relief Funds:
The district allocated $562,902 for the purchase of curriculum for Distance Learning Academy students, professional development for teachers and to cover costs associated with the needs of DLA special education teachers.
A total of $537,419 for technology, specifically tech for DLA students, iPads, Wi-Fi hotspots and cameras that allow DLA teachers to view their classrooms.
The district allocated $328,420 to be spent on nurse, elementary, secondary education and childcare staffing.
Operational costs include $345,000 for PPE. Every K-12 student received one cloth face mask and each school received three disposable masks per student, which will be distributed to students on an as-needed basis. The CDC also recommends masks are included on school supplies lists.
A total of $280,000 was allocated for an update to Glendale Elementary School’s automation system, Cink said.
Another $20,000 was previously allocated for the Minnesota State High School League, which requested funds because there won’t be any state tournaments, but the money will be reallocated from a different funding source, Cink explained.
Child Nutrition Services
The district allocated $100,000 for supplies and equipment related to child nutrition services as the district is feeding in-person students as well as bagging meals for DLA students which are picked up weekly.
Scott County also allocated $260,096 to the district based on the number of K-12 students who reside in the county. The funds from the county will be used to cover childcare costs for essential employees accrued in the spring as well as childcare costs for the months of September and October. A $35,656 portion of those funds will cover additional technology needs for DLA students.
The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund and grants and the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief fund allocated $432,465 to the district.
“This is the piece of it that has the longest ability for us to spend these funds,” Cink said. “It’s the first funding that we received and it has the longest duration and so we do have some unallocated funds here and the reason they’re unallocated at this time is because we plan to use them after Dec. 30 of this year as much as we can.”
A portion of the CRF will cover additional district staffing before the end of the year, but staff will still need to be paid for the remainder of the academic year, Cink explained. Some of these funds will cover next year’s staff cost.
While these additional funds help cover some of the expenses accrued due to COVID-19, they don’t cover all of the additional expenses that have resulted from the pandemic, Cink said.
The funds can only be used to cover unplanned expenses and not to supplant any of the items the district had budgeted for, she added.
“Honestly there's just not enough money there. We have transportation costs that we’re not including in here, we have a lot of other costs,” Cink said. “There's just not enough funds for all the additional costs we have to try and run school in this situation, unfortunately.”
She noted that the district usually sees 75 students drop from enrollment throughout a school year, but this year PLSAS has already lost 167 students, which also affects funding.
The district typically would have cut busing to lower expenses, but with capacity limitations and the implementation of the hybrid learning model transportation can’t be cut.
“There’s a lot of things that are happening unfortunately that are affecting our budget that we can't control,” Cink said. “I think we had a lot of expenses and we have more than what we've actually received in revenue and we’re hoping that they'll give us some additional funds for the remainder of the year from December on but if they don't that’s money that will have to come out of the general fund in order to pay for those things.”