County approves more than half a million to public, private schools from CARES Act allocation

Grays Harbor County Commissioners approved more than $500,000 in CARES Act funding for county schools on Monday.

The allocation is $50 per currently-enrolled student in private and public schools within the county. With 10,132 students between 13 schools, the funding comes to $506,600.

“Per the CARES Act, funding may be allocated to schools to assist with additional expenditures they have had due to COVID-19,” read the agenda cover sheet for the resolution. The county was approved for about $5 million in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funds.

Board Clerk Jenna Amsbury told the commissioners that all schools had provided their current enrollment numbers for September, upon which the allocation was based.

The funding per school district is: Aberdeen, $154,150; Cosmopolis, $8,200; Elma, $73,550; Hoquiam, $80,250; Lake Quinault, $9,400; McCleary, $14,150; Montesano, $68,600; North Beach, $37,400; Oakville, $14,300; Ocosta, $29,200; Satsop, $2,650; Taholah, $8,100; and St Mary’s, $5,900.

The resolution approved unanimously by the commissioners Monday included, “Schools in Grays Harbor County have incurred and continue to incur considerable costs to facilitate the transition to distance learning in an equitable fashion and to ensure compliance with COVID-19 prevention public health guidelines for in-person education.”

Commissioners Monday also approved 44 small business grants for a total of $363,403 in CARES Act funds. Many applicants asked for, and were approved for, the maximum $10,000 grant to offset economic losses brought on by COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions.

“I think it’s pretty exciting we’re able to put this money back into our community,” said Commissioner Vickie Raines. She said she was working with staff to put together a complete list of the businesses that requested CARES Act funds and the amount they were awarded to be made available on the county website.

“I think that’s good for the public to know,” she said.

Commissioner Wes Cormier asked what was left in the county’s CARES Act allocation. Raines said that about $514,000 remained, with around 15 small business grant applications that have not been funded as the county awaits additional documentation about their applications.

Other than those 15, “it appears all the other applications would be funded in some fashion, whether for the full amount requested or a different amount,” said Raines.