Hallowell-area school district outlines plan to spend American Rescue funds

HALLOWELL – Regional School Unit 2 will receive just over $ 3 million under the US Rescue Plan (ARP), also known as the Postgraduate Elementary School Emergency Assistance Fund and secondary (ESSER).

The total amount that RSU 2 will get is $ 3,088,400. The US bailout requires districts to set aside 20% – or $ 617,680 for RSU 2 – of the allocation to target learning losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic as well as to correct other “inequalities in long standing ”in school districts, according to the Department of Education.

The amount each district receives from the ARP grant is determined by the DOE, which uses data from Title 1 of the 2020 State. Districts have until September 30, 2023 to spend the money and can use the ARP funds to offset the costs of returning when the national emergency was declared in March 2020.

Last year, when the first and second rounds of ESSER money became available, the RSU 2 school board requested more details regarding the district’s relief spending, the Kennebec Journal found through a request for public documents. .

RSU 2 Superintendent Tonya Arnold took the Kennebec Journal to the district website to see the ARP money plan, but the document does not include specific dollar amounts for the planned areas. In some cases, but not all, the costs are specified.

In the area of ​​learning losses, the district is stepping up individual support by hiring social and emotional support coordinators, training staff and teachers in social and emotional support, as well as organizing intervention training, mentoring and learning recovery alternatives.

The document does not say how much this will cost the district, but the grant requires the district to spend at least $ 617,680 in this area. It reveals that the positions hired will either be contracted with fringe benefits or salaried with fringe benefits, but does not give the specific amounts that new hires will be paid.

Regional School Unit 38 will receive $ 1,496,983 in ARP money, RSU 12 will receive $ 2,420,309, Maine School Administrative District 11 will receive $ 3,628,449, Winthrop public schools will receive $ 1,508,026 and public schools from Augusta will receive $ 6,901,768, according to the DOE.

Other RSU 2 plans for ARP money involve a “COVID Mitigation Security Project” and “creating space for more students.”

RSU 2 has already started creating space for more pupils with the purchase of two mobile classrooms for the Marcia Buker Primary School and one for the Dresden Primary School.

The district also moved fifth-graders from Hall-Dale Elementary School to Hall-Dale Middle and High School (HDMHS) in an effort to create more space. The renovation costs are covered by ARP money, but again, a specific amount is missing.

The spreadsheet indicates that the district would like to increase transportation, as well as through additional contracts or adding drivers.

Under the COVID mitigation rubric, there is a plan to improve air circulation in schools. RSU 2 will complete ventilation upgrades at Monmouth Academy at an expected cost of $ 60,000. HDMHS will also benefit from an upgrade to its ventilation system and all schools will receive an ionization unit.

The district will replace the generators at central office for $ 136,000, at Monmouth Academy for $ 185,000 and at Marcia Buker Elementary School for $ 137,690. HDMHS will get new windows to resolve the ventilation issues.

In the area of ​​contact tracing, the stipend for nurses, administration and weekend tracing secretaries will be $ 30 per hour.

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