Reopening IN schools comes with a cost

Indiana News

Ind. (WXIN) — Reopening Indiana schools in the fall is going to take money, and some schools are wondering how much and where that money will come from.

Administrators are trying to figure out how they will pay for less students on school buses, extra sanitation, personal protective gear and potentially more on site nurses.

“We’re hoping and our goal is to keep all of our staff because we will need the teachers and all of the custodians and all the folks working in the school as we move forward with these new guidelines because there are a lot more requirements that school districts are trying to deal with,” Dennis Costerison, Executive Director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, said.

WEHT sister station WXIN asked Governor Eric Holcomb’s office about this. Press secretary Rachel Hoffmeyer says, “school corporations will be receiving a total of $192 million from the CARES Act. Additionally, a significant number of corporations have submitted requests with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security for FEMA reimbursements for supplies such as cleaning supplies and PPE.”

“We are all wanting to see if there will be another stimulus package,” Costerison said.

The Indiana State Teachers Association is calling on Indiana’s U.S. Senators to pass the HEROES Act in Congress. They’re also calling on state lawmakers to not make any cuts to K-12 education saying “we must ensure that students do not pay the price in this crisis.”

“I think our main concern now is what happens to enrollment,” Costerison said.

Costerison says in some districts, surveys show schools may be seeing a 30 percent enrollment drop in the fall. The number of enrolled children is how the state determines funding.

“I think what we are looking at is a hold harmless of having us use the same enrollment that we did for our February count and do a hold harmless rather than revamping everything,” Costerison said.

WXIN asked the governor’s office whether this was being considered, but have yet to hear back.

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(This story was originally published on June 8, 2020)

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