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District has spent about half the money allotted and has plans for the other half.

COURTESY PHOTO: ESTACADA SCHOOL DISTRICT - "The funds were extremely helpful and continue to be helpful," said school Superintendent Ryan Carpenter.

The Estacada School District has spent about half the $2.2 million it received in federal financial aid to help the schools through the COVID-19 pandemic and plans to spend the rest of the funds over the next two years of the program.

"The funds were extremely helpful and continue to be helpful," Superintendent Ryan Carpenter said in a recent regular social media presentation the district calls "All In Live."

The money came from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, managed by the U.S. Department of Education. In March 2020, Congress allocated $13.2 billion for the so-called ESSER program.

The funds were designed "to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation," according to the Department of Education.

The Estacada School District spent the bulk of the funds so far on three portable buildings with a price tag of $567,000.

Safety and access upgrades were made to buildings with about $138,000 of the money and those upgrades will continue over the next two years.

Carpenter said every building now has key card access installed and "we can lock every building down in the stroke of a button" in case of emergency.

Another $76,000 was spent to have certified nursing assistants in schools and that will continue for the next two years at the $76,000 per year expenditure.

Carpenter said more health experts were needed on campuses during the pandemic and on an ongoing basis.

"We now have people in place who help with kids who are feeling sick, kids hurt at recess who need a bag of ice. This was usually the job of our building secretaries. They can do more toward supporting their principals and classroom teachers," Carpenter said.

The district is also spending money to help students become better readers, especially those who have fallen behind as a result of the pandemic. About $96,000 was allocated for reading. Another $35,000 was spent on curriculum for social and emotional learning.

The district also spent $20,000 on a generator for the district and more funds are earmarked to finish the generator program.

Generators can provide power to district computer servers in case of an outage, so students have access to online school. The machines also keep food from spoiling in district kitchens.

About $863 was spent on masks and other protective equipment for staff and students and more is allocated for that in case the need arises.

Over the three years of the program, Estacada schools plan to spend about $50,000 per year of the ESSER funds on hot spots and other Internet access for families that aren't connected to the Internet.

Plans for a community liaison will cost another $60,000 per year of the federal funds.

The district expects to use $50,000 for summer school each year over the next three summers.

Carpenter said the future spending plans could change as circumstances change.


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