A Greene County Superintendent is clearing the air about district grant funding.
Greenfield-Northwestern Superintendent Kevin Bowman sent a letter to Greenfield parents this week clarifying the terms of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants received by the district.
The funding was made available to school districts across the country by the federal government through the American Rescue Plan to help schools improve and reopen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools are currently on their third round of the funding.
Bowman says a number of concerned citizens asked about the third round of funding at the Greenfield School Board’s business meeting on January 24th. Citizens were concerned that the school board had locked the district into a district-wide mask mandate until September 2024.
Bowman says that it is not the case. Bowman says that the district is set to operate with a mask optional policy after Governor J.B. Pritzker’s emergency executive orders and guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education’s guidance are allowed to expire. Bowman says the district is obligated to follow the law under the terms of the grant funding agreement.
Bowman goes on to say in the letter that the grant funding is not solely focused on mask compliance but helping the district remain in-person for learning and to supplement any learning loss that may have occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bowman highlighted a number of projects in the Greenfield district that the first two rounds of funding have paid for including chromebooks for all students in the district, new Promethean boards at the elementary and high school, upgrading HVAC at both buildings, and paying for extra staff to cover regular staff who may have to be absent due to Covid infections, among other things.
In total, Greenfield has received over $1.4 million in ESSER funding. Bowman reiterates throughout that at no time did the school board agree to keep masks mandated until 2024. He says the 2024 date is the deadline in which the funds must be obligated for projects.
More information about Greenfield’s ESSER funding projects can be found at greenfieldschools.org.