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Superintendent: Billings schools to get $3.2 million in COVID-19 relief money

Posted at 8:24 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 22:24:25-04

COVID-19 and the Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's stay-at-home and school closure orders have added to school expenses with online classes and extra cleaning.

To offset some of those costs, Billings School District 2 will receive about $3.2 million in emergency funds from the federal government.

That is about $2.5 million for the elementary schools and about $710,000 for the high schools.

The money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last week.

Superintendent Greg Upham said the money will help pay for cleaning supplies and technology and instructional materials.

"The list goes on and on, but it's a very welcomed boost," Upham said. "I can tell you that."

He said teachers were able to get their material online, soon after schools closed.

"The biggest thing for us to try to determine how much gap we have with our students," he said. "And where they should be, where they normally would be and where they are. We're working on that now. But in the future, that could mean being able to offer extended resources for students maybe that aren't demonstrating grade level proficiency or meeting our bench marks."

And Upham said it's too early to know how the students are doing with online classes.

As for the CARES money, Montana will receive $41.295 million.

About 90 percent of that is for schools around the state.

The rest will be set aside for other emergency needs.