School Board Holds Hearing on American Rescue Funds

By Alex Malm

As part of the Oct. 5 Londonderry School Board meeting a public hearing was held regarding The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III funds.

“This fund provides the Londonderry School District with $1,564,487.94 to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our students,” said Lisa McKenney, the financial service manager for the School District.

The ESSER III funds was the fourth federal grant the District has received in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total they have received $3,401,702.65.

It was explained by McKenney that there are certain restrictions for what the funds can be spent on.

“Londonderry must reserve at least 20 percent of funds to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs,” McKenney said. “The balance of our allocation can be used for a wide range of activities.”

During the meeting she outlined some of the things they plan on using the funds for.

Those plans include a math interventionist for $105,000, PPE equipment for $52,250, a ventilation system assessment for $6,850, UV Light units for classroom disinfection at a cost of $162,00, a custodial contract for sanitizing at $90,000, and a extra kindergarten teacher to keep the class sizes down for a cost of $63,445.

Some of the other things they are considering is touchless faucets for a cost of approximately $200,000, a toilet and urinal auto flush for about $100,00 and touch paper towel dispensers for about $12,000. McKenney pointed out that they are all estimates at this point.

They have until September 2023 to spend the funds and McKenney said that they will be going to the Board periodically to give them updates on how the funds are being spent.

One question that was asked was if they are possibly able to use some of the funds to hire a nurse for the district who can go around and administer rapid tests for students who have parental consent so they don’t have to send students home or wait for PCR test results.

McKenney said they can look into it and bring it back to the School Board for them to consider it.

During the public comment period Rachel Killian said that as of January 2022 the PCR test isn’t going to be acknowledged as the “test” any longer and said they should start thinking about other ways for kids to make up for their learning loss who have to get tested or have symptoms.

She also explained that since they spent $24,450 on cameras for remote instruction, she said “It would be great like we asked if we used those cameras for learning not being had so that students can zoom into their classrooms like we’ve discussed a few times,” Kllian said.

The School Board unanimously approved the acceptance of the funds.

Also during the meeting the School Board accepted the resignations of Jennifer Fortin, a special education assistant at the South Elementary School, Amy Furlong a special education assistant at Matthew Thornton Elementary, and Jillian Grennon a technology assistant at the North Elementary School.

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