Gasconade R-2 expects about $1 million each from federal ESSER-2, 3 relief funding allocations

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 4/8/21

Gasconade County R-2 Superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner said he is unsure when the district may expect to receive funds from the American rescue act, but guesses the amount will be around $1 …

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Gasconade R-2 expects about $1 million each from federal ESSER-2, 3 relief funding allocations

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Gasconade County R-2 Superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner said he is unsure when the district may expect to receive funds from the American rescue act, but guesses the amount will be around $1 million.

“The ESSER-3 (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds have not been announced when we will have the ability to get it,” Garner said. “It will be roughly the same amount as (ESSER-2,) the second stimulus package. They are supposed to be funded based on the same Title One allocations.”

The district has until 2023 to spend the funds from ESSER-2 and until 2024 to spend ESSER-3.

“We have not drawn down the (ESSER-2) funds yet,” Garner said. “Right now we are developing what the money qualifies for and how best to spend that on projects since that is one-time money.”

The Gasconade County R-2 Board of Education held a budget workshop on March 23 to discuss the financial, structural, and educational goals for the future. Garner said when he brought up the ESSER funds and asked the board what project they would like to spend the money on, their response was “Hmm.”

“Typically you don’t utilize one-time funds on recurring cost projects because the money runs out, then how do you sustain the project?” Garner said. “The board is looking at options, and the best way to enhance the district for students, because typically this situation doesn’t happen.”

He added that when this type of money is distributed, some of it will go to COVID-19-related expenses that have already been incurred. That includes virtual, online learning and disinfecting.

“We have been able to increase our technological offerings because of our need to do that because of COVID,” Garner said. “But some could potentially go into a project. What is that project? We don’t know yet.”

Since the workshop, Garner said the board has discussed what they may use the funds for. Acceptable projects that the funds may be spent on include learning loss, technology, improved facilities, expanded staff — in reflection to that learning loss.

“This may not come around again, so what can we utilize that for,” Garner said. “It has to be expended in things it qualifies for, and there are some restrictions, but broader than what it could be.”

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