At the Jan. 12, meeting of the Dawson County Board of Education, officials reported that the Dawson County School System will be receiving $1.65 million from the second round of CARES Act funding.
“As you may remember when we did the budget for FY 21, we received some CARES act funding of about $415,000 roughly; we were told before Christmas break that CARES 2 funding was coming as a part of the second stimulus and that we could expect about 4 times as much,” Superintendent Damon Gibbs told board members. “And we got word yesterday that we would receive $1.65 million.”
Gibbs said that the funding will be used to help better serve the children in the school system.
“School districts across the state are gonna use their money to bride gaps in instruction that have occurred across the last seven months,” Gibbs said. “And used in a lot of ways to serve our kids.”
Chief Financial Officer Jamie Ulrich said that, unlike stimulus checks to private citizens which are deposited directly into recipients’ bank accounts, the school system’s CARES funding comes with additional requirements.
“They don’t just send me that money and it doesn’t just pop up in the bank account,” Ulrich said. “We have to expend that money first and then ask for reimbursement on it.”
According to Ulrich, the CARES Act funding will be used in addition to local ESPLOST funds to bolster the school system’s budget for the spring 2021 semester.
“The ESPLOST continues to be strong throughout the state of Georgia,” Ulrich said, “so everything is looking in really good shape.”
During the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Nicole Lecave also updated board members on school enrollment numbers for the spring 2021 semester. According to Lecave, the majority of students this semester will be attending school in person, with a small percentage attending online.
“As far as our total enrollment goes, we have 3,699 students including our pre-K students,” Lecave said. “After the holiday, we have 307 students that are remaining online, which is 8 percent of our student population.”
According to Lecave, the percentage of students who are attending school online in the spring 2021 semester is lower than the number attending online in fall of 2020.
“When we ended semester 1, we had 485 students online so we were hovering around 13 to 14 percent,” Lecave said. “Now we have 92 percent of our kids back, so we are thrilled about that.”
Lecave said that out of the total number of students enrolled online, 124 are kindergarten through fifth grade and 183 are sixth to 12th grade. Despite the slight fluctuations between the fall semester and the spring semester, Lecave said that students enrolled online are being served without any major changes in instructional staffing.