The Day – Local school districts to receive federal CARES Act funding

Several local school districts are slated to receive funding boosts through the federal coronavirus relief act to cover costs of education adjustments and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, announced funding for several school districts in her 19th state Senate district, including $8.5 million for Norwich, $1.19 million for Montville and $920,000 for Ledyard.

State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, announced that the New London school district will receive $8.44 million in funding through the federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Funds, or ESSER II.

The funding is part of $492.4 million in the ESSER II Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2021 coming to the state, he said.

Groton schools also will receive some of the funding. State Rep. Christine Conley, D-Groton, sent an email Tuesday saying she was “pleased to report” that Groton will receive $9,410,202 in education relief aid.

Funds can be used to coordinate response efforts to the coronavirus; address learning loss among students,  including low-income students, minority students and students with disabilities; purchase supplies to sanitize and clean school facilities; plan for long term closures, including providing meals and technology for remote learning; provide mental health services and support; for school facility repairs and improvements.

More details on the ESSER II program may be found here.

Norwich School Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow said the district is “honored” to receive the federal support, and Norwich will focus on addressing equity achievement gaps worsened by the pandemic. “Our team is planning extended school day programs for school year 2021-22, summer learning loss programs in most every school and at every grade level to support the needs of our NPS students,” she said in an email seeking comment on the funding.

Specialized instruction intervention programs during the school day will focus on mathematics and reading taught by certified experts, Stringfellow said, and more supports will be provided to English learners and special education students. Social and emotional learning also will be addressed.

Osten thanked the federal government for continuing to support local school districts which have faced added costs of operating schools and reaching all students during the pandemic. “It’s a great investment and is certainly much needed,” she said.