CLARK COUNTY — Learning loss remediation, facility improvements and the district’s virtual academy are among the planned uses for Greater Clark’s federal stimulus funding.
Greater Clark administrators outlined plans at a Tuesday meeting for spending the $15 million allocated in the third round of federal COVID-19 relief.
In total, Greater Clark is receiving $23.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money across three rounds of funding.
Greater Clark was allocated $1.6 million for the first round and $6.6 million for the second round.
The school district must use at least 20% of the third round allocation to support learning loss, which amounts to more than $3 million for Greater Clark.
Greater Clark is planning to use $8 million for HVAC upgrades across the district.
Greater Clark Superintendent Mark Laughner said this would cover a portion of an ongoing need — $35 million to $40 million in HVAC upgrades.
“We’re not going to be able to do that in one year,” he said. “That’s going to be an overall five-year facility plan.”
“I do feel like not only do we need to spend this $8 million on HVAC with the money from the [federal stimulus], but we we’ll probably bond for another $4 to $5 million so we can start to get ahead of these issues we have with HVAC throughout the district.”
Greater Clark has earmarked a large portion of learning loss funding for the addition of instructional coaches, which would amount to $2.4 million.
“We’re adding 12 instructional coaches to help offset learning gaps we know we’ll see when students return,” said Greater Clark Assistant Superintendent Kim Hartlage. “There will be 10 of those with one at every single elementary building and one at [Charlestown Middle School].”
Laughner said the federal funding would support the 12 teachers for the next two years, but at the end of the second school year, the district would have to evaluate budgets and enrollment to determine whether to keep the positions.
Using $120,000 in funding, Greater Clark also intends to add four para-educators on the kindergarten level with the intention of supporting students without previous experience in early childhood education.
The district is also planning for the funding to support stipends and registration for staff professional training.
This includes a combined $150,000 for Orton Gillingham staff training, a costly, “highly sought-after” program focused on reading support, according to Hartlage.
The district is also planning $333,641 to be used for professional development coaching for math.
Greater Clark’s plans for the federal funding also include the support of expenses associated with its virtual academy, including $98,000 for virtual academy coordinator, a position added in 2020, $350,000 for virtual academy curriculum development/stipends and $250,000 for staffing.
The plan also lists $1.5 million for employee compensation, $436,565 for technology program support and $1 million to recoup COVID-19-related expenses to food service and instructional programming.
Hartlage emphasized that these plans will likely be adjusted in the future.
“This is fluid, because we will continue to re-evaluate, what are our needs?” Hartlage said. “Anything that is changed will have to go through an amendment process that has to be approved by the [Indiana Department of Education].”