School systems in Carroll County will receive millions of dollars in funding from the federal act aimed at COVID-19 financial relief.
All Georgia public school districts will receive a total of $411,452,867, with Carroll County School District receiving $3,728,777 and Carrollton City School District receiving $1,005,593, according to an announcement Monday by the Georgia Department of Education.
The money will be allocated through the CARES Act, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. This is a federal stimulus package passed by Congress aimed at providing relief for those financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgia applied for the funds through the Education Stabilization Fund Program Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which is part of the CARES Act funding.
The funding allocations were determined from 2019-2020 Title I allocation. Districts will receive an amount of the CARES Act funding proportionate to what they received in Title I, Part A funding in 2019-2020. That part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, provides financial assistance to local educational agencies for children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.
This means that if a district were to receive 10% of the Title I, Part A funding in 2019-2020, they would also receive 10% of the $411,452,867 CARES Act funding.
These funds are flexible and can be used for many things, and do not expire until September 2022.
Possible uses include funding for distance/remote learning, school meals, supporting at-risk student populations, mental and physical health, supplemental learning, facilities/equipment, and maintaining continuity of core staff and services. The funds can also be used to reimburse expenses retroactive to March 13, 2020.
No decisions for how to allocate these funds had been made at either Carroll County School District or Carrollton City School District.
“We are closely scrutinizing our budget plans and thinking ahead in preparation for significant state cuts,” said a statement from Carrollton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus. “We are committed to maintaining the community expectation of exceptional educational services and will work diligently to accomplish this. We will learn more in the days ahead of what our parameters will be.”
The reference to state cuts mentioned by Albertus was not about specific cuts, but rather possible cuts in general.
In addition to any possible cuts, both city and county districts are facing the possibility of a loss of funding through ESPLOST, Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, revenue if this year’s referendum does not pass.
In June, voters get to decide whether or not to keep this one% sales tax. The revenue from this goes towards facility improvements.
While ESPLOST revenue fluctuates each month, in 2019, monthly revenue ranged from approximately $1.1 million to $1.35 million for Carroll County School District.
There has always been an ESPLOST in effect in Carroll County since the first became effective Jan. 1, 1998 and if the referendum were to fail in June, then the current ESPLOST would terminate in 2022.