Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath Participates in Roundtable Discussion on CARES Act
Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath was among the participants in a roundtable meeting with U.S. Rep. Roger Williams in which he discussed the use of federal CARES Act funding by the District.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was approved in late March to assist with expenses incurred due to the public health emergency created by the outbreak of COVID-19.
“The safety, health and welfare of our students and staff is the single most important concern to Cleburne ISD and its Board of Trustees,” Dr. Heath said. “Through the use of CARES Act funds, the state has provided public school districts with personal protective equipment for teachers, staff and students.”
The District also utilized Coronavirus Relief funding to offset the purchase of 6,000 Chromebooks totaling $1.29 million. CARES funding will pay for 75 percent of that purchase. Dr. Heath credited the CISD Technology Department in anticipating the need for additional devices as classroom instruction reverted to distance learning in late March, and remained in that mode to the last day of school.
“We placed our order for new Chromebooks well ahead of the majority of districts across the state and nation,” Heath said. “We knew it was critical that every CISD student had a reliable device to utilize at home or school as we prepared for re-entry in 2020-21. We had devices ready to meet student and campus needs ahead of our August 31 start date.”
“This was a very proactive and timely decision as we went on to develop a Remote Learning program for students who chose that option due to medical and health concerns,” Heath said. “Currently 1,660 of our students are enrolled in Remote Learning. We are also prepared, should a classroom, campus or the entire district have to revert to distance learning at any point.”
The CARES Act also provided a means for school districts to purchase related technology at a lower rate, with the Texas Education Agency paying for 50 percent of the cost through the governor’s Operation Connectivity program. Cleburne ISD was able to purchase 680 hotspots for internet connectivity at an initial cost of $66,130, with the state paying the matching half with CARES funds. The District is also working with the city and county for further local matching reimbursement. These hotspots will be available to students working remotely who do not have access to the internet.
“The state of Texas is going to use the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits from the CARES Act initiative, to offset district payroll costs during the time school systems were closed,” Dr. Heath said. “Cleburne ISD was closed from March 13 to June 30. The payroll costs during that period totaled $1.1 million.”
The superintendent was among several city and county officials and agency and industry representatives who participated in the discussion organized by Williams.
On Friday, Rep. Williams was back in the district to present Dr. Heath with 600 face masks to assist with campus needs.
Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath is pictured next to U.S. Rep. Roger Williams at the conclusion of a roundtable session in which the utilization of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act was discussed.