Londonderry School Board Gets COVID-19 Funds Update

by Alex Malm
The Londonderry School Board got updated about different COVID-19 grants that the school district has received and how they have or will be spent during its April 6 School Board meeting,

During the meeting Financial Services Manager Lisa McKenney announced that so far they have received COVID-19 grants totaling  $1,836,939.

She explained that the grants are for only specific things however.

“It’s important to note that each of these grants has a specific purpose and can only be used for that purpose,” McKenney said.

For example she said that they couldn’t use the funds as revenue to offset the tax rate or spend on any items or services already budgeted before.

The first grant that she talked about was the Supplemental Public School Response Fund.

She said that the allocation of $971,998 was designed to provide relief and support for unanticipated costs associated with the safe opening and operating of schools during the pandemic.

The eligibility was until Dec. 30 of last year and McKenney said that they were able to spend all of the funds. Some of the things they spent it on included PPE, sanitation supplies, air purifiers for classrooms, among other things.

The second grant they discussed was the ESSER1 grant, which was funded through the CARES ACT to help K-12 educational entities prevent, prepare for, and respond to impacts of COVID-19.

McKenney said that they have until September to spend the funds.

“I fully plan to not have a problem spending that money,” McKenney said.

The latest allocation that they have received is called ESSER2 for a total of $696,335 funded by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to supplement schools to help in the response to COVID-19.

The eligibility period for it is until Sept. 30 2023 and they will be having a public hearing on May 4 to accept the funds.

“We have a couple of years to spend this,” McKenney said. “We will have funds available moving forward to meet students’ needs,” she said.

Some of the areas they are considering using the funds for includes summer academy, after and before school tutoring, HVAC equipment and controllers, boilers & furnaces which provide heat for ventilation systems, air cleaners, and emergency generators.

Additionally the school district received word that they will be receiving an approximate 1.5 million in addition to the funds they already received. McKenney said they would tell the Board and public when they officially find out about the grant.

McKenney said that they are continuing to learn about what they can and can’t do in order to stay in compliance with the rules.

“With the uncertainty that COVID-19 brought to our schools, we have continually attended multiple webinars on these grants to ensure that we stay compliant within the ever-changing rules and regulations. These grants will be reviewed as part of our annual audit by our auditors and are also subject to audit by The Department of Education at any time,” she said.

She said that their main goal is to be able to use the funds the best way possible to help students.

“Our goal is to utilize these funds to the fullest allowable extent to provide support to our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the foreseeable future, financial reports will include updates on the use and available funds each grant has,” she said.

The next Londonderry School Board meeting is slated for May 4 at 7 p.m.