School officials consider the laptop expenses to be COVID-19 related, but instead of using a share of federal funding, they are now forced to ask supervisors for county money to cover the cost.
County schools were awarded $2.385 million in federal CARES funds. Private schools in the county were given nearly $133,000 of that funding.
According to a School Board presentation, the school system plans to use its CARES funds to help cover just more than $2 million preparing schools and buses, while $250,000 is slated to help with staff child care and $100,000 is set aside for “internal services.”
Baker said the school system provided 2,000 laptops to students for distance learning at the end of last school year, but said more students will need the devices.
He and other officials also told supervisors of the School Board’s plan to use bonds to provide Chromebook laptops for all students.
School officials used a survey to determine the number of laptops needed, but will not know exactly how many need them until school starts and they can reach all students. Since some students lack internet access at home, the school system will help by providing internet service and hotspot devices.
Much of Tuesday’s discussion was hampered by confusion during intense questioning, primarily from two supervisors who often appear to be at odds with school officials on spending.