When most of us hear the word ‘Billion’ we think of lavish islands, boats the size of skyscrapers, and even flights to space.
These aren’t the kinds of things K12 schools will be buying this school year (at least we hope not) but they sure will be hearing that ‘Billion’ word a lot thanks to the most recent round of Coronavirus relief funding to reach the shores of education.
CARES Act vs. COVID Relief Package
Earlier in March of 2020, we saw a bill known as the CARES Act get passed by Congress that allowed K12 schools to take advantage of roughly $13 Billion dollars in funding.
Now in the early months of 2021, we have seen a new bill passed that offers up a significant increase in funding to K12 - $54 Billion - over 4 times the amount that we saw available less than a year ago.
These large amounts of funding are sure to ease the pain for districts experiencing the hardships of the pandemic.
What Districts Can Buy
The exhaustive list of allowed uses for the COVID relief funding includes things you may consider obvious - like PPE and remote learning supplies - but many schools use their funds to handle much more.
Things like supporting the mental health of students and teachers, routine cleanings, and preparing the school building to be as safe as possible are also big contenders on the list.
One trend that we have been seeing regularly is the adoption of temperature scanning kiosks. These handy terminals give students and teachers the opportunity to quickly and discreetly screen themselves before entry, allowing for touchless, unmanned operation.
Prep Your Budget
If the combined $67 Billion in funding has yet to reach your district, don’t worry, President Biden has proposed yet another stimulus package that could potentially provide K12 schools with an additional $130 Billion - that’s a lot of cash! How does one district spend all that money?
On top of the other gadgets and enhancements that your district already wants, be sure to think about the other ways you can prep your budget to be ready for the unexpected.
Whether that’s by investing in infrastructure upgrades to improve ventilation, touch-free timeclocks to make employee time capture simple and safe, or even simply the regular purchase of cleaning supplies, there are many ways to get the wheels spinning when it comes to thinking about the use and allocation of a new budget to best prepare your district for the unknown.
In an unpredictable world, the best we can do is observe, learn, and implement preventative measures based on our findings. With a third round of funding on the horizon, K12 decision makers can begin to formulate plans to fill the dangerous gaps in their districts.
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