Though it was less than previously planned, Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to make available more than $2 million in federal money to local schools.
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act money equates to $125 per student at 13 public school districts, which are eligible to receive $1.8 million, and 10 parochial schools, which are eligible for up to $227,901.
The schools must still either apply for reimbursement or, in the case of schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, charge the county directly for approved items.
“This is what is being made available to them,” Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said.
Before the money was spent on schools, Franklin County had about $6 million of its original $12 million allotment of CARES Act money remaining. After the school money, along with $1 million for the Franklin County Health Department and another $196,397 in outstanding applications goes through, the county will have $2.7 million remaining in CARES funds.
Law enforcement, firefighting and ambulance agencies also are eligible to apply for reimbursement of some salaries but have yet to do so, Auditor Angela Gibson said.
The county was eligible to award up to $500 per student when the CARES Act was passed in 2020 but initially decided to offer only $250. Commissioners then said they planned to award the remaining $250 after recently deciding they want to spend all the federal money that has been awarded to the county.
But after seeing what schools could be getting from the recently passed American Rescue Plan — possibly more than $3 million for the School District of Washington alone — they lowered the amount to $125 per student.
“This is a great, great thing to be able to do,” Brinker said at the meeting. “We’re super excited for these schools to be able to get this extra revenue and resource.”
Though some of the schools receiving money are based outside the county, they are eligible for funding for their Franklin County students.
Union is eligible for the largest amount of any local school district from the county’s CARES award at $391,125, followed by Washington, at $371,000, Meramec Valley, $353,000, and St. Clair, $270,875.
St. Francis Borgia Regional High School is eligible for the largest amount of a private school, $48,375, followed by $39,250 for Our Lady of Lourdes School and $35,922 for Immaculate Conception School.
Schools used previous CARES allotments to purchase a variety of items, ranging from cleaning supplies and camera systems to school buses.