Milford schools

Milford Schools Close Budget Gap, Receive Additional Federal Funding


MILFORD – Schools in the city will receive more federal money than expected, according to James Richetelli, director of operations.

The city received just under $ 5.9 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Assistance Program, or ESSER, Richetelli told the Board of Education at its meeting this week. The total was about $ 49,000 more than he had expected, Richetelli said.

ESSER 3 funding, the third round of School Relief Grants, brings Milford to a total of $ 8.2 million in federal aid this year, a slight increase from projections last month.

Until May 19, schools had spent $ 3.1 million on expenses related to COVID-19, Richetelli said. Schools also closed the planned budget gap of about $ 178,000, from $ 1.3 million to just over $ 1.1 million, he said.

“It’s really because we’re coming to the end, and we can predict with good certainty where we’re going to be in five weeks with our expenses,” said Richetelli.

The budget was also boosted by food service accounts, which have increased their income since students returned to school, Richetelli said.

“Participation in free breakfast and lunch programs has increased since returning to school, especially during breakfast,” he said. “We really think we’re getting one step closer to trying to close that gap completely.”

Richetelli said the district food service manager and her staff “have also become very creative about how we distribute food to so many families who need or want it.”

More than 700 students currently receive breakfast at the school each day, Richetelli said. In previous years, that number was closer to 300 or 350, he said. This level of program participation has helped the foodservice program close its projected shortfall of over $ 170,000 to approximately $ 60,000.

“This is really positive news because the kids get a great meal in the morning, and every meal we serve or give to a family, we get a refund from the federal government for it,” Richetelli said.

All of this news is on top of the fact that schools probably don’t need to ask for a special allowance to balance the 2020-21 budget, Richetelli said.

“We believe, we know that we will be able to cover the deficit in the operating budget,” he said.

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