County Council establishes school assistance program
To help schools in Pierce County navigate the new school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pierce County Council unanimously approved the creation of a Pierce County COVID-19 School Assistance Program.
Through the program, $5.5 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act monies will be made available to all K-12 Pierce County public school districts, tribal schools, Washington State Board of Education-approved private schools and Washington State Charter Commission-approved charter schools with campuses in Pierce County.
“We know Pierce County schools and the families they serve face countless hurdles as they prepare for the 2020-21 school year,” said Council Chair Doug Richardson. “While we can’t authorize the reopening of schools, we can provide financial assistance to aid our schools, which in turn will help Pierce County children and families.”
Allocations vary depending on student enrollment, but the maximum amount available is $750,000 per eligible school provider. For those with smaller student enrollment numbers, the following minimums were set:
- $5,000 for eligible recipients with less than 75 students;
- $10,000 for eligible recipients with 74 to 149 students; and
- $25,000 for eligible recipients with 150 to 360 students.
"Through the frequent conversations I have had with superintendents in District 1, I have heard the many challenges facing school leaders as they prepare for the upcoming school year," Council Vice Chair Dave Morell said. "Through this new funding opportunity I hope we are able to help not only our public and private schools, but the children they serve as they begin classes in this new learning environment."
To receive the funds, eligible school providers must enter into an agreement with Pierce County. The county’s Finance Department will implement the program. At a minimum, approved providers must agree to use the money in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, they must comply with CARES Act requirements and they must provide a summary of funds used or the planned use of funds.
Once the Pierce County Executive signs the ordinance, eligible school providers will be notified and provided additional details on how to receive funding.
View the full ordinance on the Pierce County Council website
County Council District 1