SMITHVILLE — City leaders in Smithville unanimously approved a request to provide Smithville School District an additional $132,637.13 in CARES Act funding to help offset previous expenses used to fund virtual learning, additional desks and other equipment.
This decision came after Wayne Krueger, a financial consultant for the school district, visited aldermen during their Nov. 17 work session.
“This has been a very challenging year for us and it gets more and more challenging every day as we move forward to continue to operate ... . We are trying to serve our community and our kids, but it is getting more and more difficult,” Krueger said. “All the costs submitted were previously submitted to (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) for consideration under the public assistance program. We started incurring costs in March of last spring. … We were under the impression that we would be funded, but FEMA changed on Sept. 15 ... the eligibility and we’re not funded. We got about $32,000 funded and the rest was denied.”
Original funds granted to the district directly out of the city’s portion of federal CARES funds were $268,410. It was used to create one-to-one technology capabilities for all students in the district, Krueger said. This means each student was able to have computer equipment to learn virtually.
Krueger added the additional funds the district requested were to cover costs already incurred. The district, he said, is paying $80,000 for virtual teachers’ instruction alone, and that cost will recur next semester.
Alderman John Chevalier said he supports city funding going to the school.
“I feel other communities are helping their school districts out with their CARES money and I feel we should do the same,” he said.
Aldermen Steve Sarver and Dan Ulledahl agreed.
“I can’t think of a better thing to use it for,” Sarver said. “I’d rather these funds go to our kids.”
Krueger said additional funding from the city was appreciated.