Millions in federal funding granted to our local schools

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After a hard year, a big check is a big hand. Back in April school districts got their first look at how much more federal funding was in store. $20 million for Columbia County, $28 million for Aiken, and around $117 million for Richmond.

“Our focus is to make sure that we’re addressing this learning lag or any learning loss that our students may have experienced,” said Lynthia Ross, Richmond County School System.

To help kids catch up the district started an extended learning summer program funded by previous federal funds. They hope the ARP funds we’ll help take it further.

“We’ll continue to expand that work during the school year and potentially into the next summer following the next school year,” said Ross.

The district also plans to use the funding to continue getting every student access to a device and internet.

Over in Aiken County, some things are changing but others are staying the same. Masks are not required except on the bus, classrooms will have socially distanced desks, air purifiers, and “Intensified cleaning” from custodial staff.

“We’ll also use these funds to secure resources to support COVID-19 safety activities,” Ross said.

Another challenge all three school districts say they’ll spend the money on is personnel recruitment and retention. As we pull away from the pandemic districts are hopeful next year will be a better year.

Aiken County will meet next week to approve their return to learning plan. They say they’ll have the full American Rescue Plan funding hashed out by the end of summer. Richmond County hopes to have a plan for their money ready by the end of this month or early July. Each district is required to share their plans with you and submit their plans to the state before the funds can be used.

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