Pottstown, Pottsgrove, Other Districts Share County $15 Million

NORRISTOWN PA – Six area school districts are among those across Montgomery County that will share in a $15 million gift bestowed Thursday (Aug. 13, 2020) by the county Board of Commissioners to help cover costs of returning to education while dealing with the duress and problems posed by the coronavirus pandemic, commissioners’ Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh said.

Each of the county’s 21 districts as well as the Boyertown Area School District in Berks County – which serves students in Douglass (Montgomery), New Hanover, and Upper Frederick townships – will share in the award to be paid from a portion of MontCo funds received under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The money is being proportionately divided based on U.S. Department of Education Title I funding formulas, the commissioners’ resolution noted. Amounts given to districts serving the county’s western end, listed in order of descending size, are for the:

  • Pottstown School District, $1,790,922;
  • Pottsgrove, $623,727;
  • Spring-Ford Area, $413,503;
  • Upper Perkiomen, $394,625;
  • Perkiomen Valley, $375,350; and
  • Boyertown, $254.099.

Among the 16 remaining districts the largest award, $3,254,525, was given to Norristown schools.

In discussing the action before the commissioners’ unanimous vote, Arkoosh noted she had met almost weekly with superintendents from all districts as a group, and from them developed a better understanding of “the extraordinarily difficult sets of decisions each of them has to make.” She briefly described schools’ “different layouts and facilities,” and how administrators wrestled to “absorb large and unanticipated costs.”

“I can personally attest to how hard these superintendents are working,” she added. Arkoosh also claimed they were likely to face more challenges ahead, in part because both virus conditions and government-issued guidelines to deal with them seem to change rapidly. Superintendents, she said, are being asked to “make decisions in a continuously evolving pandemic.”

Before the money is distributed, each district must sign an agreement with the county. The funds can be spend on nearly any coronavirus related expense, Arkoosh said.

Commissioner Ken Lawrence also praised the districts’ efforts.

Commissioner Joe Gale said he hoped districts would use the money to open schools as fully as possible, and reminded recipients such a gift should not be expected again.

Photo by elizabethaferry via Pixabay, used under license