WEST CHESTER (October 27, 2020) – Eleven school districts in Chester County will receive more than $2.1 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.
The funds, part of a $49.8 million statewide program, will help school districts with costs related to the COVID pandemic. They were approved this week by the Pennsylvania School Safety and Security Committee.
“These funds will help better equip local schools in addressing the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and protecting students, teachers, and staff,” Dinniman, who serves as Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “I will also continue to advocate for funding and resources for our nonpublic and brick-and-mortar charter schools as they continue to respond to the same issues and challenges as a result of the virus.”
The school districts in Chester County receiving funds are as follows:
- Avon Grove: $169,077
- Coatesville: $267,717
- Downingtown: $406,587
- Great Valley: $139,105
- Kennett Consolidated: $120,996
- Octorara Area: $66,851
- Oxford Area: $112,488
- Phoenixville: $133,548
- Tredyffrin-Easttown: $223,652
- Unionville Chadds-Ford: $115,554
- West Chester: $377,181
In May 2020, the General Assembly approved $200 million in funding for school entities. $150 million, which came from the CARES distribution, has already been distributed to schools. The remaining $49.8 million from ESSER was on hold, awaiting approval from the U.S. Department of Education.
School districts can use the money for any of the following purposes:
- Purchasing of cleaning and sanitizing products that meet CDC or PA Department of Health criteria.
- Training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious disease.
- Purchasing of equipment, including PPE, thermometers, infrared cameras and other necessary cameras.
- Modification of existing areas to effectuate appropriate social distancing to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.
- Providing mental health services and supports, including trauma-informed approaches for students impacted by COVID.
- Purchasing educational technology for distance learning to ensure continuity of education.
- Other health and safety programs, items or services necessary to address COVID.
School districts will be asked to reapply to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to comply with federal requirements in order to get their distribution. These funds are not competitive and will be awarded as required by statute (to school districts based off the average daily membership of the school district).