During a special meeting July 13, the Floyd County Schools Board of Education voted to use American Rescue Plan funding to ease the costs of returning to school on students, their families and teachers.

During the meeting, according to a statement, the district voted unanimously to spend a total of $225,000 to purchase necessary school supplies for all students from PK through 12th grade for the 2021-2022 school year, utilizing funding authorized in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the district, the move will not impact the district’s General Fund.

Interim Superintendent Anna Shepherd said in the statement that the district’s intent is to “reduce one barrier” for students before they even enter the school building.

“The school district will use the ESSER II (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds) to purchase consumable items that each teacher requests from his/her supply list,” Shepherd said. “Our board of education wants to help remove any socioeconomic barriers and assist with the challenging pandemic year we all experienced.”

In addition to the general school supplies, according to documents, the district will also assist teachers in content areas that require unique materials for students.

Shepherd said the district is also working with community partners to expand a backpack program which is already in place for fifth through 12th grade students.

“Our 5th through 12th grade students already receive a large backpack from the district that is used to hold their devices we provide,” Shepherd said. “We will work with community partners who are champions for our students and families to provide backpacks for our preschool through fourth grade students as well. These supplies will be distributed in class during the first week of school.”

Shepherd said that the school supply programs are all about “reducing barriers” for families and students and were inspired by her “Listen and Learn Tour,” in which she’s visiting schools and talking with administrators about schools’ needs.

“After talking with our school folks, I am inspired by their passion and dedication to their students and it only seems fitting that, while we are blessed with additional funds, that we help with all supplies,” she said.

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