Lehigh Valley schools receive millions in federal relief funding

Written by on February 8, 2021

 Lehigh Valley schools receive millions in federal relief funding

By Chloe Nouvelle

February 8, 2021

Prekindergarten students listen as their teacher reads a story. Photo| Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Pool/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Pennsylvania elementary and secondary schools are set to receive more than $2 billion dollars in federal pandemic relief funds. A portion will be distributed throughout the Lehigh Valley.

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The money is part of the latest stimulus bill and each school’s portion will be based on the number of low-income students in its district. 

The Allentown School District will receive an estimated $43 million dollars. The Easton Area School District expects $8 million, and the Bethlehem Area School District, $16 million. 

“Our primary focus is to get us over this COVID hump,” Stacy Gober, chief financial officer for Bethlehem schools says. 

She says even though $16 million sounds like a lot, it will go toward closing a gap created by the economic fallout of the pandemic.  

“We anticipate that there would have been a deficit, the magnitude of which is a little bit harder to quantify at this point,” Gober says.

Gober says Bethlehem will spend the funds on COVID-related cleaning and remote learning expenses, including Chromebooks and hotspots, as well as supporting English language learners and the district-run Virtual Academy.

“We can do some positive things with these revenues in order to not just continue instructional programs, but improve them and come out the other side in a better place than maybe where we started,” she says.

Districts have until September 2023 to spend the emergency relief funds.

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