Milford schools

Milford Schools Consider $ 8 Million in Federal Grants


MILFORD – Financial assistance is on its way to Milford, in the form of two more federal emergency relief grants for elementary and secondary schools.

The Milford Board of Education has received ESSER 2 and ESSER 3 grants, which together total more than $ 8 million.

The ESSER 2 grant gives the district a total of just over $ 2.3 million and it can be spent until September 30, 2024. This means that the funds must be “committed and spent by that date.” said Superintendent of Schools Anna Cutaia. Board of Directors at its March 22 meeting.

The ESSER 3 grant will give schools an estimated $ 5.8 million, available until September 20, 2023. Cutaia and other superintendents have had discussions about the attempt to extend ESSER 3 until 2024, but this is not yet official, she said.

Cutaia said that with the new grants, it’s important to distinguish between supplementing (building or adding) and supplanting (replacing or replacing) funds. An important element with ESSER 2 and 3 is that the funds must be used for new programs and purposes.

“Federal law prohibits recipients of federal funds from substituting state, local, or agency funds with federal funds,” she said. “Therefore, we cannot take the locally raised taxpayer funds that would normally go into the general fund, cut our budget, and then use federal funds to override that.”

School board president Susan Glennon echoed Cutaia’s point, stressing its importance, especially when it comes to budgeting next year and into the future.

“I just want everyone to keep this in mind because it is a very, very important point and we may have to mention it because we are in public places,” she said.

Cutaia added that the exact amount of ESSER 3 funds available was still unknown.

“This is a preliminary estimate and we still have not received official notice of the exact amount of ESSER 3, so this number is an estimate,” she said. With ESSER 3, the state can require that part of the money be spent in specific categories. This is not the case with ESSER 2.

The district has received advice from the state Department of Education on how the grants can be used. The elements include: administration of high quality assessments; monitoring student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education; improving emergency preparedness; purchase supplies to disinfect and clean the facility; buy educational technology; the development of summer learning programs and additional after-school programs; improve indoor air quality and more.

One potential consequence of the misuse of funds is the reduction of funds in other grants to the school district, Cutaia said. The district may also have to repay federal funds that have replaced local and state funding if the money is not used appropriately, she said.

The ESSER grants are the latest in a series of federal relief funds Milford has received. The school board received $ 957,310 through the Corona Relief Fund. This money was used for things like personal protective equipment, disinfection, and transportation.

Through ESSER 1, the district received $ 456,031, which can be used to cover money already spent to fight the virus.

“These funds are for COVID response efforts and we can recoup our costs on the first day of the emergency on March 13, 2020,” she said.

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