The Floyd County school board has a wide range of plans for their COVID relief money, but the biggest plan is investing in “COVID-related loss of instructional time.”
Federal Programs Director Laura Timberlake explained that — with about $2 million from the first CARES Act, $7 million from the second and $20 million estimated to come from the American Rescue Plan Act — the school system will have almost $30 million to invest over the next few years.
About 20% of the ARP funds must go toward instruction, according to Superintendent Glenn White.
“This ties into summer school, after-school tutoring, education coaches and interventionists. All of those things are permissible under the budget,” he said.
The intervention programs would specifically target “at-risk” students, or students who are behind grade-level, board member Melinda Strickland said.
The school system is already planning on expanding their summer school program to include all grade levels. It will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Education coaches and interventionists would be hired on about a 5-year basis, White said, and they’re looking at hiring a science and social studies coach for the system’s high schools and middle schools.
These positions are intended to assist both students and teachers in the classrooms and to help students catch up with the state standards.
The board is also looking at investing some of the funds into the fine arts programs across the school system.
Fine arts programs don’t really see as much investment as the sports programs in the system, White said.
“We’ve never made a commitment to those programs and after talking to the students at the high schools, they said they felt left out,” he said.
Under the proposed budget, about $125,000 would be spread out across the school system for art supplies; $200,000 would go towards high school band departments, $50,000 for other music programs and $25,000 for the theatre programs.
Other uses for the money will likely include replacing HVAC systems, roofs and other general maintenance.
The budget isn’t set in stone and could go through more changes before it’s sent to the state education department for final approval.