Hamilton County schools receiving $40.5 million in COVID relief

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tennessee- The Hamilton County Schools are receiving over $40.5 million from the latest COVID relief.

“The biggest thing we can do for these kids, is never shut the schools down again,” said Hamilton County School board member Ronda Thurman.

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That $40.5 million is a one-time payment through the COVID relief bill to help schools through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency relief also called ‘ESSER.’

Thurman said this money needs to go to the kids’ education.

“Student achievement, that’s what I plan on putting my emphasis on,” said Thurman.

Of the $40 million, nearly $2 million will be going to the county’s charter schools and an additional $2 million will go to indirect costs.

Of the remaining $36 million, about 70 percent is being divided between learning loss, education technology, and learning acceleration.

Thurman said even though it will help, it’s not enough.

“No amount of money that we get will ever be able to make up for the lost education of the students. We just can’t do it. They lost a year. There’s really not anything we’re going to be able to do about it. We’re going to just have to do the best that we can,” said Thurman.

She added she doesn’t want this money to simply turn into more jobs.

“(I hope) we don’t make any new positions that we’re not gonna be able to fund once the money is gone. In government, positions never go away you just keep funding them and I hope we don’t do that,” said Thurman.

The proposal has been submitted to the state for approval.

If the proposal is approved by the state, it will then need to be approved by the school board.