The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board has been promised $5.1 million to implement COVID-19 safety protocols, but is still waiting for the funding and agreements to be sent by the province.
During Wednesday night's school board meeting, Catholic board trustees were given a report by Suzanne Olimer, superintendent of business and finance, which outlined how all the funding allocations announced over the summer by the provincial government had trickled down to the board’s coffers, and how it would be spent in Catholic schools across the county.
“Just for clarification, each of these amounts was earmarked, and that’s all we’re allowed to use it for, is that correct? It can’t be transferred from one spot to another?” asked trustee Janice Hutchison, who represents Essa, Adjala-Tosorontio and New Tecumseth.
Olimer said that was correct, but clarified that while most of the amounts have been promised by the province, few have been actually received as of yet.
“We’ve really only received the transfer agreement for the $43,000 for enhanced cleaning. There is a contract that will go with each of these amounts,” said Olimer. “In advance of the contracts, we’ve been advised what the amounts must actually be used for so we can start our planning.”
“So we haven’t received that money yet, is that correct?” asked Barrie trustee Maria Hardie.
Olimer said the funding would likely come in segments. She noted that the HVAC funding of about $500,000 had to be fully spent by Oct. 31.
“We are providing a report to them of spending as of Friday, even though we don’t technically have the funds yet,” she said.
The funding breakdown according to the report is as follows:
From Aug. 4 announcement: Investments to Support School Reopening in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak
- Additional Staffing Support (Custodians) - $544,983
- Health and Safety Training for Occasional Teachers and Casuals - $101,623
- Additional Support for Special Education - $121,571
- Additional Mental Health Supports - $129,670
- Allocation for Technology - $158,582
- Allocation for Mental Health Supports - $129,670
- Enhanced Cleaning Allocation – $43,525
From Aug. 25 announcement: Optimizing Air Quality in Schools
- Upgrading air filters, recommissioning existing HVAC systems, purchasing portable air filtration systems - $500,400
From Aug. 25 announcement: Student Transportation Funding Support for Enhanced Cleaning and PPE for Drivers
- Transportation/school buses - $254,089
From Aug. 26 announcement: Additional Funding for School Reopening (Federal funding)
- Additional Teaching Staff - $819,310
- School Reopening Emerging Issues - $1,147,759
- Transportation - $323,964
- Remote Learning - $344,358
- Spec Ed and Mental Health - $156,930
From Aug. 14 announcement: Additional Guidance and Funding for School Reopening
- Remote Learning (Administration) - $199,525
- Additional Teaching Staff - $187,517
The report was received for information by the trustees.