CUSD Subcommittee Prioritizes CARES Funding Spending

(Clovis Roundup Photo)

With Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) receiving funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Instructional Services and School Leadership subcommittee discussed the district’s priority list during its latest meeting.

A 40-person committee compiled and prioritized a 117 item list of items that the CARES funding could be spent on, arranging from most important to least.

CUSD will be receiving around $118 million from sources, including $27.5 million from the Expanded Learning Opportunities Grants (ELO), $13 million from In-Person Instruction (IPI) Grants and a combined $79.1 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) I and II Fund.

Some grants have parameters that the district must follow when spending, like the ELO Grant that requires 10% spent on paraprofessionals.

At the top of the committee’s priority list were upgrading and replacing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units, transferring funds to a self-insurance fund for staff and offsetting lost fundraising revenue at schools.

According to the committee, just because items are prioritized towards the top of the list doesn’t indicate the order they will be completed.

All of the items on the list would cost CUSD $109 million.

Many projects come with a hefty price tag, like the HVAC costing an estimated $7.5 million district-wide or shade structures for outdoor eating and learning costing $5.5 million.

The committee said some items could have a multi-year rollout and receive funding over the next two years.

Not all items on the list qualify under the provided requirements, which means that CUSD will have to find a funding source elsewhere.

Ongoing projects are something that the committee will be attentive to because the longer they go on, the more CUSD will have to find ways to fund them.

Although the CARES funding will be included and used in budgets, it is not an ongoing revenue source.

CARES funding will have to go through different layers of approval, but once it has gone through the proper channels, it will be included in CUSD’s adopted budget that the governing board approves.

Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.