School district seeks input on use of funding

The Massena Central School District is seeking input from the community on how federal funding should be used. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The Massena Central School District is seeking input from the community on how federal funding should be used.

The district will be receiving money through the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The CRRSA funds must be spent by September 2023, and ARP funds must be spent by September 2024.

“Federal guidelines set spending parameters, but states can provide additional requirements and dictate specific allotments per district,” Superintendent Patrick Brady said.

The state Education Department is seeking the participation in each school district by teachers, parents and other interested organizations, as well as individuals in the planning for and operation of each program providing funds to the district.

The Massena Central School District is in the early stages of developing spending plans and is seeking input at The state Education Department, meanwhile, is developing further guidelines for use of the funds.

“Current guidance indicates that districts must prioritize these funds as non-recurring spending. This is to prevent widespread hiring or adoption of costly programs that cannot be sustained when federal funds expire. Schools may hire or add new programs, but investments should be sustainable to provide continuity and the best benefit to students,” district officials said.

The survey asks community members to rank what they believe is the highest priority for spending, the second highest priority and the third highest priority. The suggestions include offering before-school academic programming from 7 to 8 a.m.; expanding after-school programming; providing grade-level-specific tutoring services; addressing student mental health needs and social-emotional learning; providing summer learning or summer enrichment; providing student mentoring and career planning; offering academic supports and intervention services during the school day; purchasing educational technology such as hot spots, additional sets of Chromebooks, hardware, software or other items to support education; and undertaking projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities or reduce virus transmission.

If an area isn’t on the list and the community member believes it should be a priority, they should contact district officials and explain its importance.

Other school districts are also surveying their communities and, at Norwood-Norfolk Central School, Superintendent James Cruikshank has provided the ranking by importance after a two-week survey period.

“Many wonderful ideas and concerns were shared and the input is greatly appreciated. It will be used to formulate our approach,” he said.

Mr. Cruikshank said 80.2% prioritized academic supports and intervention services; 54.7% prioritized social-emotional supports and intervention; 38.7% prioritized projects to improve the indoor air quality or reduce virus transmissions: 36.5% prioritized purchasing educational technology; 35.9% prioritized comprehensive after-school programs; 19.8% prioritized summer learning or summer enrichment; 8.5% prioritized extended school year programs; and 3.7% prioritized an extended school day.

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(1) comment


Spend spend spend spend. The NYS and liberal ways to tax you to death!!!

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