Kearney aldermen provide $300,000 to local school district

Kearney aldermen approved giving $300,000 of the city's CARES Act funds to the Kearney School District to help offset costs of ensuring children in the district have access to a tablet or laptop to use for virtual instruction.

KEARNEY — City leaders in Kearney are helping the Kearney School District by providing $300,000 to help fund computers and related equipment needed to educate students in virtual and hybrid learning environments being utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money is coming from a portion of the city’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding. Ahead of approval of fund sharing, the city had a CARES Act fund balance of $783,936.49. In his mayor’s report to the Board of Aldermen Monday, Sept. 21, Mayor Randy Pogue said after reserving CARES Act funds for possible revenue losses associated with the pandemic, police and fire salaries and current city expenses, the city has enough left over to aid schools.

Pogue came up with the idea to share city funds after a meeting with Kearney Superintendent Matt Miller.

“My message here is: We are one community; we are all in this together. I believe it’s extremely important for us to support our school district,” said Pogue during the Monday aldermen meeting.

Aldermen unanimously approved sharing the funds to purchase iPads for students in kindergarten and first grade and Chromebooks for seventh-graders.

In a letter to the mayor ahead of the aldermanic meeting, Miller said the district has faced nearly $2 million in revenue losses coupled with pandemic-related expenditures of more than $600,000.

“The expenditures made include the most critical expenses absolutely necessary to conduct educational programming and maintain a safe environment,” he said. “Due to these funding challenges, KSD has foregone making other purchases that would support more effective instruction.”

Miller is grateful for the city’s support.

“The partnership between the city of Kearney and the Kearney School District is strong because of this kind of consideration. It makes our community extremely unique and special,” he said.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.

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