PERRYSBURG — COVID relief funding for the Perrysburg Schools is among the lowest in the region, according to a presentation by Superintendent Tom Hosler.
The district is receiving $1.24 million in ESSER II and III funding, which is $247 per pupil, and is one of the lowest in the state, per pupil, Hosler said.
At the Nov. 15 board of education, Hosler explained the allocation of COVID-19 relief funds distributed to the district, both in how the funds have been and will be used, as well as how those funds stack up compared to other districts.
Board members and administrators have been receiving questions from parents about that spending and why the district is not making purchases and hiring like some districts have been, Hosler said.
According to Hosler, Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
He compared that per pupil amount to nine other districts, where Toledo Public is receiving $8,432 per pupil and Washington Local is receiving $3,350.
“You’re scratching your head if you’re living in Northwest Ohio and saying ‘If this is based on poverty and families that are living in poverty, why is Ottawa Hills at $572 per pupil?’ and Anthony Wayne, which is almost a mirror of Perrysburg, in terms of type of community, is getting $976 per pupil. So this is kind of a challenge as we begin to talk about how these funds were allocated,” Hosler said.
Hosler said that money was supposed to have been allocated based on census data from 2018 and Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. Butt he rhetorically asked how the government could arrive at figures showing more poverty in Ottawa Hills than in Perrysburg.
“The cost of COVID and staying open was significant,” Hosler said.
School districts have received funding in three allotments: ESSER - I, ESSER - 2 and APR ESSER (also called ESSER III). Perrysburg received $96,901 in ESSER -1 funding and $378,830 in ESSER - 2 funding, both of which have been fully spent. ESSER - 3 funds allocated are $851,402, and as of Oct. 31 the district has spent $164,363 (19.3%) of that money, with plans for the rest.
The funds are a reimbursement, and there are stipulations on what they may be spent on.
With ESSER - 1 the district spent $17,436 on Zoom and Schoology online services that included software and licenses to support remote learning. Another $76,477 was spent on supplies and materials to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, such as: sanitizing and personal protective equipment like Clorox 360 machines; face masks and face shields; sanitizer stations; HVAC filters changes, and Plexiglas stations for eight buildings. They purchased enough for 5,600 students and 700 employees.
“Today we forget about the scrambling, the ordering, the talking to people around the country and working with consortium’s around Ohio to try to secure those large numbers to operate schools,” Hosler said.
ESSER II funds were used primarily for salary and benefits for the teachers and tutors that were part of the Perrysburg Virtual Academy, which had 500 students during the 2020-21 school year. However, $9,048 also went to purchase computer related supplies.
ESSER III funds will be used for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. Assuming that the pandemic does not require a change, the funds are currently budgeted for after school tutors, instructional coaches, after school enrichment programs related to student mental health, a mathematics acceleration camp that was offered last summer, a student family engagement liaison and school tutors.
“What difference could you make if you had $3,000 to spend on all the things that we mentioned, versus $250?” Hosler asked.
Not all the federal money has been spent.
In Ohio the remaining state allocated federal money was divided up among the branches of government. Hosler said that there is money remaining with the legislature and the governor’s office, and he has spoken with the them about receiving additional funds to make up the difference between districts.
Hosler said that he might have a response about additional funds within the next three weeks.