HCS issues new survey, asking how to spend over $125 million in federal funding

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:10 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Millions of federal dollars are headed to Horry County Schools, but the district needs more input before they can receive the funds.

The district says they need stakeholders, which includes parents, students, teachers and staff members, to complete an online survey. Those actions will help them to access $125 million in ESSER funds for COVID-related needs over the next three years.

However, the district must meet two requirements in order to receive the money.

The first being the creation of a “safe to return” plan for students, which required public input. HCS officials say that step has been completed.

Now, the district must receive feedback from stakeholders about how the money should specifically be used.

HCS says the federal funds will help them address challenges some students face in the learning environment due to the pandemic.

“At least 20% of that has to be related to student learning loss,” said district spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.

According to the director’s website, that portion of the funding would go toward addressing that learning loss by enhancing tutoring and after-school programs. It would also be used to work with families through attendance support, social-emotional learning and other mental health resources.

Summer learning programs and improvements to parent-teacher conferences and communication are also being proposed.

There are 15 allowable uses for how the $125 million can be used, including the purchase of cleaning supplies and coordinating an emergency response for COVID-19.

Brandi Roberts, an HCS parent, supports those options on the survey, as long as her child can experience a normal school year.

“If they need to spend the extra money for cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, keep them as normal as can be,” she said.

Fellow parent David Warner also looked over the survey. He said while he thinks it’s good the district is seeking feedback from parents, there should be some form of communication about the funds happening outside of the virtual environment.

“There are a lot of categories on the survey,” Warner said. “But I think there needs to be more conversations with parents and families where we’re actually reaching out to the community. Also, consider the fact, many in our community may not have internet access to do that particular survey.”

The survey will be available on the district’s website until July 26 at 11:59 p.m.

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