School Funding

Millcreek Schools Detail How $ 16 Million in COVID Relief Spent


The Millcreek Township School District details how it spent more than $ 3 million in COVID-19 relief funds and how it plans to spend almost $ 14 million more.

The school district has so far received over $ 16 million from various government assistance programs and will receive an additional $ 732,000 for programs to reverse learning loss and for after-school and summer enrichment programs.

Most of the funding comes from three rounds of federal emergency aid funds for elementary and secondary schools. The money can be spent over the next three school years.

“Our approach with this federal relief is student-centered. Students come first,” said Aaron O’Toole, director of finance and operations for the Millcreek Township School District. “We are prioritizing what we can do to tackle learning loss, to ensure that we have a safe environment for our students and staff, and to continue academic growth where we want it to be.”

A major objective has been to add an intervention specialist in each building to help the students get on the right academic path. The district plans to spend $ 2.9 million to cover costs for three years.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll actually spend that amount.

“Two years later, we can say that we don’t need an interventionist in every building,” O’Toole said. “We will be reporting regularly on the relief funds we have already spent and reports intended to be snapshots of how we plan to spend the money. However, this spending will be very fluid over the next few years.” depending on the changing needs of the district.

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What has been spent so far

So far, the district has spent just under $ 3.8 million in relief funding, mostly on efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and on technology needed for virtual education, said O’Toole.

Expenses for distance learning included the purchase of laptops and other technological and educational software. The money also paid for the salaries of additional teachers needed for virtual learning.

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COVID-19 mitigation spending helped purchase protective gear, backpack sprayers, office screens and cleaning supplies and paid contractors to help clean and disinfect buildings . Funds were also provided for the training of the district pandemic coordinator and team.

Additional funds have been spent on summer apprenticeship programs; the district-run e-school; salaries for additional mental health therapists in schools; and professional development focused on teaching as well as the social and emotional well-being of students and staff.

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Future spending plans

“We will continue to spend in some of these same areas, including continuing our COVID mitigation efforts with supplies for disinfection and disinfection and additional support for it,” O’Toole said.

The district also plans to continue purchasing technology and software to enable in-person and distance learning.

The district also plans to use the money for new positions, including a professional development coordinator, an assessment director, additional teachers for virtual learning, and additional mental health staff.

About $ 3.3 million of relief funding has yet to be allocated to specific projects or personnel. That money could be used to upgrade HVAC systems as part of planned upgrades at McDowell Intermediate High School and Walnut Creek Middle School, O’Toole said.

It could also help fund proposed renovations to the Erie County Technical School, he said.

The district’s main goal is to be nimble with money and to use it to the best of its ability now and over the next two years, O’Toole said.

“The focus will be on students and our mitigation efforts. We can’t just spend money on anything. It’s targeted (by law) to be spent on something like 10 to 15 domains, ”O’Toole said. “It’s not like we can take the money and use it to balance our budget or pay all of our salaries.”

O’Toole will detail the relief fund spending for the Millcreek Township School Board on Monday evening and provide regular updates to the board on a monthly basis.

Contact Valérie Myers at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @ETNmyers.


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