Money from coronavirus relief bill on its way to help S.C. schools during pandemic

Money from coronavirus relief bill on its way to help S.C. schools during pandemic

CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - Kershaw County School District Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins said because of the coronavirus pandemic, his school district is worried about its local revenue streams.

"We're just unsure of what type of revenue we're going to receive with every thing closed down," he said.

School districts like his in South Carolina are set to get some help thanks to the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed into law last week.

The South Carolina Department of Education (DOE) said the stimulus money from this bill will help cover some of the losses of school districts. The relief bill includes a $30 billion Education Stabilization Fund -- a good bit of that money will go towards K-12 education.

“This allows us a 12-month buffer to see what we have to do to get out of this situation and build for the future,” Dr. Robbins said.

Within the Education Stabilization Fund, there is a $3 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. South Carolina is estimated to receive about $48 million from that, according to the DOE.

That money can go to K-12 and higher education needs. Gov. Henry McMaster will decide how exactly that money is distributed.

The DOE estimates they will receive an additional $216 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. That money will be distributed out to the school districts based on their TITLE 1 allocations.

“It provides a layer of support toward school districts," Ryan Brown, the CCO of DOE, said. “I know $216 million sounds like a lot, but when you have 800,000 students it can get eaten up pretty quick. I do think this will provide an emergency relief fund our school districts will be able to turn to.”

According to Brown, the money sent to the school districts can be used for a variety of things:

  • Any activities authorized under ESSA, IDEA, Perkins, Subtitle B of McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act
  • Coordinate emergency response
  • Support school leaders
  • Ensure preparedness and coordination
  • Purchase cleaning supplies
  • Purchase education technology
  • Mental health supports
  • Summer learning

He also stressed these numbers are estimates and they are unsure exactly how much each district will receive.

According to Dr. Robbins, when the Kershaw County School District receives its money they are planning to put it towards paying utility expenses.

RELATED STORIES

“That frees up general fund dollars to make sure we are able to save all positions and staffing that we have in our district to the best of our ability,” he said. “At the end the day, we want to save as many positions.”

He said even though there is a lot of uncertainty right now, he can count on his staff and teachers.

“I’m very proud of the efforts they are putting in," Robbins said. “You can’t see some of it because they are doing a lot of it at home, but they are investing the time and trying to stay engaged with our students. That is what is going to get us through this.”

All South Carolina schools are closed through the end of April.

State Superintendent Molly Spearman released some guidelines for grading and graduation Tuesday afternoon. Read those by clicking or tapping here.

Copyright 2020 WIS. All rights reserved.