Bethel schools hope funds from last year can cover COVID costs
BETHEL — The school board hopes money left over from last year’s budget will put a small dent into the district’s coronavirus expenses.
The board plans to set aside the almost $386,000 remaining from last fiscal year into an account for emergencies.
That money could be critical as the district tries to cover the estimated $1.9 million to education students during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is probably one of the biggest emergencies we’ve had,” Superintendent Christine Carver said to school board members at a recent meeting.
So far, the district has spent about $614,000 on expenses such as overtime for custodians, personal protective equipment and monitors to ensure students follow precautions on the buses.
About $1.5 million of the projected expenses is expected to be covered through federal money and this fund, according to figures presented to the board.
The fund—known as the 1 percent account— is meant to be used for emergencies and future opportunities, school officials said. In the past, money in the account has paid for the new boiler at the middle school, a 2017 turf field study and emergency air conditioning measures at Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools.
Melanie O’Brien, school board chair, said she had been concerned that the account was running low, so she was glad to replenish it. There is under $364,000 in the account without the latest funds.
“It’s something we need to have,” said O’Brien before the school board voted unanimously to deposit the money into the account.
The finance board must approve this.