Chester County Commissioners Announce $10 Million COVID-19 Public School Grant Program

Chester County Covid-19

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County Board of Commissioners announced a major grant program that will provide financial support to public schools in Chester County, all impacted by COVID-19. The Chester County COVID-19 Public School Grant Program provides $10 million to 12 school districts to help their schools comply with COVID-19-related public health measures.

Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline approved a resolution authorizing the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) to administer the $10 million fund, which will be available immediately to 12 of the public school districts in Chester County.

Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our schools have been particularly hard-hit. The uncertainties of the virus have led to intensive planning, preparation – and revised planning – by school administrators and school board members, who have had to make tough decisions in trying to balance the desire for in-school learning with the need to ensure the health of students, teachers and staff.”

The $10 million Chester County COVID-19 Public School Grant Program is funded from CARES Act funding acquired by Chester County government. Each of the 12 school districts have been apportioned money by the County, based on Title 1 allocations.  Funding for the school districts ranges from over $330,000 to $ 2.4 million.

CCIU Executive Director, Dr. George F. Fiore, thanked the Commissioners for their willingness to support students, families, staff and noted how this funding will positively impact our community, “The CARES Act financial support provided directly to Chester County districts allows our schools and administrators to adapt as we continue to navigate the ever-changing demands and responsibilities created by the COVID-19 virus and remain vigilant in our efforts to keep our students, teachers and staff members safe.”

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The agreement between Chester County and the CCIU notes that all requests for reimbursements by the public schools must be for CARES-eligible expenditures including the purchase of cleaning and sanitizing products, personal protective equipment, relevant training and professional development for staff, and changes made to facilities to ensure effective social distancing.

County Commissioner Josh Maxwell said, “Our schools are recognized as some of the best in the commonwealth and the nation, and one of the reasons for this is the leadership of the schools; leaders who care. But this pandemic has brought with it a level of uncertainty and economic challenge that never could have been imagined. All of the school districts are trying to meet those challenges head on, and at great expense. The County’s grant program will help with the burden of those costs, allowing our schools to focus on what more they need to support teachers, students and their families during this crazy time.”

The grant program for schools will also cover the purchase of student laptops and tablets, internet connection for qualifying students, establishing virtual learning centers, and mental health services and supports, including trauma-informed approaches.

“The additional district funding will help to offset many of the educational and safety expenses caused by the pandemic. As we work together to bring our staff and students back into our classrooms, we are grateful for the generous support of our Chester County Commissioners and their commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our school community,” said Dr. Emilie M. Lonardi, Downingtown Area School District Superintendent.

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County Commissioner Michelle Kichline said, “We all long for a return to traditional school experiences for our communities, but until we find a way to beat the pandemic, ‘traditional’ really isn’t possible.  School leaders, staff and teachers are making monumental efforts to teach children, and we thank them for all that they are doing. The $10 million COVID-19 School Grant program will give them resources to continue those efforts.”

Staff at the CCIU will be reaching out to the school districts receiving a portion of the $10 million school grant funding, to present program guidelines, funding agreements and reimbursement procedures.

When asked about how the funding provided will help the Oxford Area School District, Mr. David Woods, Superintendent said, “The Oxford Area School District is well pleased that the Chester County Commissioners have prioritized the safe return of our most precious resource, students, in allocating $1.1 million dollars to our district for use in preparing our schools for the return of staff and the safe education of our students. The capital allocated through the CARES funding is essential for the daily cleaning, equipment, transportation and every item that goes into everyday learning for children. The vision of the Commissioners in this endeavor speaks volumes to the stakeholders of our district as to the importance of the education of the youth in our County.”

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Chester County’s COVID-19 School Grant program is part of a major $28 million COVID-19 funding program approved by the Chester County Commissioners. Earlier this week the County announced $15 million in subsidies and grants for childcare support, and last week the County announced a $3.5 million Restore Chester County: Nonprofit Innovation & Resiliency Fund made available to Chester County nonprofits.

Chester County COVID-19 School Grant Program – funding allocations

Local Education Agency  Maximum Allocated Amount 
AVON GROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT $333,985.56
CHESTER COUNTY INTERMEDIATE UNIT $1,258,063.89
COATESVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT $2,443,003.67
DOWNINGTOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT $449,950.25
GREAT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT $436,678.12
KENNETT CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT $865,087.65
OCTORARA AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT $882,476.24
OWEN J ROBERTS SCHOOL DISTRICT $353,910.83
OXFORD AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT $1,104,411.07
PHOENIXVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT $510,552.68
TREDYFFRIN-EASTTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT $343,514.18
UNIONVILLE-CHADDS FORD SCHOOL DISTRICT $150,447.51
WEST CHESTER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT $867,918.36
TOTAL $10,000,000.00 

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