Flint, MI—At an uncharacteristically short board meeting on Wednesday, Flint Schools board members agreed to hold a vote Dec. 16. concerning purchase of “approved items” using the district’s state-allocated $1.3 million coronavirus relief funds. 

Details on the purchase are forthcoming, as they are not finalized and subject to change prior to the official vote next week, Board President Casey Lester said. 

In August, Governor Gretchen Whitmer passed a series of bills to address the challenges of educating students during the coronavirus pandemic. As part of those efforts, Whitmer secured $65 million in federal CARES Act dollars for schools that demonstrated need. 

To be eligible for the additional aid, “economically disadvantaged” students had to comprise 50% of a district’s total student population. The state considers homeless students and those with a family income that qualifies them for free lunch economically disadvantaged.

At Flint Schools, 93% of students fall into this category, according to data collected by the Michigan Department of Education. 

In total, the state allocated $13 million in CARES Act funds to the district. The funds will be spread over the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 fiscal years, Ayunna Dompreh, interim executive director of finance, said. 

The state specifies how coronavirus relief fund dollars can be spent. According to the  MDE’s website, eligible expenditures include: 

  • Sanitizing and PPE equipment
  • Technology to assist with remote learning 
  • Mental health services and support 
  • Activities that address the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners and racial and ethnic minorities

Further information on how Flint Schools plans to spend the money will be available to the public next week, Lester said. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...