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KC to get $4.8 million in federal stimulus money

MILL HALL — The Keystone Central School District will receive $4.8 million in federal stimulus money, superintendent Jacquelyn Martin announced during this week’s school board voting meeting, which was held via Zoom.

“This equates to four times the amount that we had previously received,” Martin noted, “and we have two years to utilize these funds to assist us with costs associated with pandemic. We will be planning very carefully with the finance committee of the board to ensure that we use these funds most effectively.”

Martin said that the district needs to proceed carefully when it comes to spending the stimulus money.

“We want to be super cautious,” she said. “Even though this sounds like a really great windfall, we want to exercise caution because we’re still unsure what’s going to happen with the state budget. We want to make sure that we’re not losing some funding in the state budget because we received additional federal dollars.”

Along those lines, Martin said that she and business manager Susan Blesh have been meeting with the budget heads in an effort to look at “every line item.”

The board, she said, will receive an update on the 2021-22 budget at next month’s board work session.

“We feel confident that we’re going to be able to recommend a balanced budget with a zero tax increase,” Martin said.

Martin noted that students returned to classrooms this week.

“This week Keystone Central welcomed back our students and staff for what seemed like a second first day of school. Many staff and students remarked that they were so happy to be back in person and really looked forward to the day when we could all be back together at the same time,” Martin said.

According to Martin, she’s hopeful that will happen eventually.

“We’re working on plans for that. I know as our community spread gets lower, we’ll be able to get everyone back together,” Martin said.

For now, KCSD is operating on a hybrid schedule.

Also this week, KCSD registered with UPMC as an organization that needs vaccines for educational workers. KCSD will part of Phase 1B in Pennsylvania’s vaccination plan.

“Exact dates locations and times have not been determined, but we are hopeful that this will occur in the near future,” Martin said.

There was some good news for students who are still without a school-issued device. According to Martin, the district is expecting a delivery of 2,400 Chromebooks that were ordered in June of last year.

“These devices will permit us to be one-to-one for all grade levels in the district. Every student will have the opportunity to have a district-issued device … this will be a welcome addition to the school year,” Martin said.

The board will meet for a work session at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. That meeting will be held via Zoom and accessible through the district website.

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