Bulk of $4.6M to go for student support at GCSD

— Photo from Krista Gillis
During the pandemic, many Lynnwood Elementary students had been through “levels of trauma,” said their art teacher, Krista Gillis. She came up with a project that would show them, on their return to school, “They belong here and we love them." Each student created a tiny self-portrait.

GUILDERLAND — Next Tuesday, July 27, the school board here will vote on a $17.4 million capital proposal — school district voters will have their say in the fall — and will also hear how federal funds will be spent.

The Guilderland schools were awarded $7.4 million in federal funds as part of two separate packages for pandemic relief.

The district had to submit its plans by July 15 for spending $4.6 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which covers expenses from March 13, 2020, when the pandemic started, to Sept. 30, 2022.

“We are spending most of the resources to support teaching and learning,” Superintendent Marie Wiles told The Enterprise this week.

About $770,000 of the $4.6 million will go toward the potential capital project, for outdoor learning centers and for air-quality work, she said.

“The vast, vast majority is going to go to support for students,”Wiles said.

This includes making up for learning lost during the pandemic and to provide social and emotional support, she said.

When Guilderland schools, like schools across the state, were shut down in March 2020, students learned remotely from home for the rest of the school year.

For the 2020-21 school year, Guilderland students were given a choice on whether they would learn from home or return to in-person classes. Elementary school students attended in-person classes every weekday while high school students had a hybrid schedule, alternating in-person and remote learning.

Guilderland has also been allocated $2.8 million from the American Rescue Plan to cover the period from March 13, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2023.

“We’ve not yet decided what we’re doing with that one yet,” said Wiles this week.

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