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Wood County Schools superintendent outlines federal funding plans

Wood County School Superintendent Will Hosaflook gives a presentation on the possible use of ESSER funds during a public hearing at Blennerhassett Elementary/Middle School on Wednesday evening. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook gave a presentation on the possible use of federal funds during a public hearing at Blennerhassett Elementary/Middle School on Wednesday evening.

Wood County Schools will be receiving $14,552,942 from Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief II funds and $35,213,933 from the American Rescue Plan ESSER funding.

Hosaflook said the funding will focus on three areas: learning recovery and innovation; health and safety; and infrastructure, capacity and continuity of services.

The first area will receive a total of $20,022,411, health and& safety will get $13,338,897 and the third area will receive $14,849,610. There will also be $1,555,957 for indirect costs.

Hosaflook also stated that items could be added, changed, or removed, as the current planning of funds is still in the rough draft phase. The West Virginia Department of Education could make changes to it and the public could recommend changes as well.

“We have to place funds in these three buckets,” Hosaflook said. “You will see how much each one of the buckets will get, what we’re putting into the buckets. Remember, this presentation is a rough draft. Your comments tonight, the public comments later, that will change how we look at this.”

There were numerous changes to English, math, and off-campus learning, along with safety changes. With the funding, 51 new positions were created and 18 positions were retained with ESSER II and ARP ESSER funds.

Residents can view the presentation at https://www.woodcountyschoolswv.com/.

Two public comments were made in front of the board in support of offering more accessible playground pieces for students who struggle with mobility at Gihon Elementary School.

Students like second-grader Corinne Lee who have to use crutches or are wheelchair-bound are unable to use much of the current playground equipment. In some cases they have to use the smaller playground at the school if they want to play with their friends during recess.

The comments were made by Rebecca Busiek, an aide at Gihon, and Heather Lee, her mother, about adding more accessible playground pieces for not only Corinne but other students as well.

“We would like for an accessible playground to be considered not only for our daughter, but other students with disabilities to have equal access at recess playing with their friends,” Heather Lee said. “We want them to socialize during this time like every other student. Children with disabilities will benefit not only physically but mentally.”

Tyler Bennett can be reached at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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