CARES Act Windfall to Local Schools: $1.87 Million
HARRISBURG – Six school districts serving families in western Montgomery County – Pottsgrove, Pottstown, Spring-Ford Area, Perkiomen Valley, Boyertown, and Upper Perkiomen – collectively are poised to receive more than 1.87 million in federal COVID-19 Disaster Emergency School Health and Safety Grants for the 2020-2021 school year.
Each district must apply for its share of the money, and explain by no later than Tuesday (June 30, 2020) how it will be spent during the next eight months. Many had advance notice, and already included the windfall in their budgets for the coming academic year.
The total Pennsylvania package of $150 million being distributed by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is part of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. It’s intended to boost local economies in the wake of the pandemic. Money allocated locally, based on a legislative formula, includes sums for:
- Pottsgrove, $248,655;
- Pottstown, $244,460;
- Spring-Ford Area, $423,796;
- Perkiomen Valley, $327,432;
- Boyertown, $385,377; and
- Upper Perkiomen, 4246,818.
Money has also been set aside for the Phoenixville Area School District, $280,376; for the Montgomery County, Chester County, and Berks County intermediate units, and for the Western Montgomery County Career and Technology Center, the North MontCo Tech Career Center, the Berks Career and Technical Center, and the Chester County Technical College, all at $90,000 each.
According to state 24th District Sen. Bob Mensch – who in part represents residents of Pottstown, West and Upper Pottsgrove, Douglass (Montgomery), New and Upper Hanover, Upper and Lower Frederick, Upper and Lower Salford, Schwenksville, Perkiomen and Trappe – checks could be sent out as early as July 15.
State 131st District Rep. Justin Simmons, who in part represents East Greenville and Pennsburg boroughs, reports eligible uses for the funding include the purchase of cleaning and sanitizing products, training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases, and equipment purchases.
The money also can be used for modifying existing areas to support appropriate social distancing of students and staff, providing mental health services and supports, purchasing educational technology for distance learning, and other health and safety programs, items or services necessary to address the COVID-19 emergency.