Dorchester District 2 outlines priorities for $40 million in federal funds

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Dorchester School District Two is looking at ways to spend $40.5 million in federal funds .

On Monday, the district held a public input meeting and school board workshop to get input on how to spend the ESSER III funds, which is money coming out of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The goal with the funds is to address issues like student learning loss and other problems related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The district has 15 categories of what they can spend the money on.

“Things like learning loss, making sure that we have indoor air quality, continuing PPE, and getting mental health counselors is big in this pot of money,” DD2 Chief Financial Officer Tina Meunier said.

District officials received nearly 2,800 responses from a district-wide community survey that they put out to the public to get feedback on how to spend the money.

Most of the responses focused on support for school leaders and school needs, learning loss, mental health support, and purchasing education technology.

Meunier said those priorities fall in line with the district’s targets for the funds.

Currently, the district is using ESSER I and II funds to deal with some of the concerns like hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes.

Officials have also invested in after school programs and tutoring, which they hope to continue to fund with the ESSER III money.

District leaders will post their draft spending plan on their website for public comment. They will be accepting comments until midnight July 30th.

There will be more meetings focused on updating the public on the district’s spending plan. The final spending plan will have to submitted by August 24th.


District leaders also shared a draft proposal of their reopening plan for the new school year during Monday’s meeting.

While face coverings will no longer be a requirement, officials said experts are still recommending people wear them.

As part of the draft, plexiglass will be removed but students will still sit three feet apart.

Sanitation and disinfecting efforts will continue, and air purifiers will be placed in schools if they have not already been installed.

The district will have two instructional models, a full face-to-face model, and a virtual academy for students in grades 4 through 12.

More information on the plan will be posted on the district’s website.

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