The Medford school district has spent thousands of dollars on technology needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for now, the district is pausing its spending while keeping an eye on the deadlines to spend the funds.
“We are kind of waiting for the dust to settle. We really haven’t purchased anything in the last couple of weeks to my knowledge,” Superintendent Mark Ristau said at the Medford School Board’s meeting Monday.
The Minnesota Department of Education received federal COVID-19 funding to help schools with operating costs associated with bringing students back to school this year. Those costs can include cleaning supplies and equipment, childcare costs for emergency workers, increased costs in transporting students, technology devices and digital training.
The Medford school district has a couple of funding pots to use, such as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) in addition to the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). CRF dollars are available for expenses incurred by the district between July 1, 2020 and Dec. 30, 2020 and must be spent by the end of the year.
The various pots of funding are restricted on how and what the schools can spend it on. The Medford school district has received $81,000 between ESSER and GEER and that money can be spent in the next couple of years, Ristau said.
As of Oct. 19, the Medford school district has received around $232,181 in total CRF funding while the Owatonna school district has received $1,4 million and the Blooming Prairie school district has received $187,930, according to MDE.
So far, the Medford school district has spent about $15,000 for laptops and $13,000 for iPads, according to Ristau. The district most recently purchased additional monitors for teachers, which will help them monitor the classroom, watch kids while working, and multitask with kids at home and kids in the classroom. About $4,300 has been spent on monitors. An additional $1,231.30 was spent on speakers for the school.
The district has another technology committee meeting scheduled for next week to review how things are going and any additional technology needs, Ristau says.
The Medford school district has also spend COVID-19 funds on an auto scrubber for $19,175.52, an elementary paraprofessional through the month of December for around $9,000 and nursing supplies for around $2,300.
According to the MDE, a total of $256 million in CRF funding was requested for schools across the state:
$244.8 million for operating costs and supporting students, their families and educators’ needs;
$5.2 million for school supplies and flexibility for critical care supplies; and
$6 million for teacher and staff COVID-19 saliva testing.