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Charles City schools to receive nearly $1.4 million in COVID relief

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

The Charles City School District will receive nearly $1.4 million in the latest round of federal relief funds, according to the Iowa Department of Education.

“Charles City Community Schools is blessed to be a recipient of the federal COVID-19 Relief Bill passed by Congress,” the district said Wednesday in a statement to the Charles City Press. “Leadership is developing plans for the investment of this one-time funding.”

The $1.4 million comes as part of the COVID-19 relief bill which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump two days after Christmas last month.

Schools in the state of Iowa will receive about $345 million of the $54 billion distributed nationally by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund II, within the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.

According to the Iowa Department of Education, this second round of funding is more than four times the amount the state received last spring through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Charles City received more than $280,000 in federal money last spring, and an additional amount of about $86,000 was distributed to the district in the fall, via the Governor’s Emergency Education relief grant.

Of the $345 million in funding granted to Iowa this round, 90 percent will be available to school districts. The remaining funds will be used for state-level educational efforts to address urgent issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state Department of Education said.

The school district stated that the investments will focus on making Charles City a better, safer district, and on advancing the mission and vision of the Charles City Community Schools, which is “creating compassionate, competent problem solvers.”

According to the state, Charles City is slated to receive $1,395,342. Among other area school districts, North Butler will receive $251,933, Nashua-Plainfield will receive $253,813 and Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock will receive $220,952.

The allocation of funds is based on each school district’s eligibility for Title I, Part A funding. Title I, Part A is a federal program that provides districts with funding based on the percentage of low-income students served by the district.

“These funds will provide critical support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Iowa students and families who depend on the essential services provided by our schools,” said Iowa DOE Director Ann Lebo. “Schools can use this funding to measure and address unfinished learning and contend with other coronavirus-related challenges.”

Lebo said that includes — but is not exclusive to — the need for increased professional development, educational technology, cleaning supplies and other sanitation measures, facility repairs, upgrades to improve air quality in school buildings, summer learning, supplemental after-school programs and mental health services.

School districts must agree to a list of assurances on how the funds will be used, which is available in the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA) system that districts use to report information to the Iowa Department of Education.

This round of funding differs from the $71.6 million Iowa received last year through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund within the CARES Act because there is no provision for nonpublic schools to receive a share of the funds.

A separate program will be available for nonpublic schools to apply for additional funding as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund II. Details on that fund will be announced when they are available.

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