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Students head back to school as Columbia Borough School District kicks off the 2018-19 school year on Monday, August 20, 2018.

When: Columbia school board meeting, Jan. 5.

What happened: The school district has received $104,171 in additional grant funding to assist with further coronavirus-related expenses.

Background: The board approved a reopening plan July 23 to implement various policies deemed necessary to offer in-person instruction districtwide for the 2020-21 school year. To ensure a safe and equitable education, the district initially spent over $338,000 on supplies, equipment and technology needed to reopen and maintain each academic building. Federal, state and county grant funds were used to cover the majority of these expenses, said chief of finance and operations Keith Ramsey.

Why it’s important: The district recently acquired an additional $65,300 in county and $38,871 in federal funds. This financial aid, according to Ramsey, would be used to purchase 350 Chromebooks for students in kindergarten through second grade, at a total cost of $111,314. To date, the district has received $880,594 in grant funding and spent $468,007 on coronavirus-related expenses.

What’s next: District officials will provide further updates on a potential second round of federal coronavirus funding for school districts statewide.

Real estate tax rebates: Since 2006, the district has offered a rebate program to assist low-income taxpayers that own or occupy a residence and fall under at least one of the following categories: seniors 65 or older, widows 50 or older, or permanently disabled 18 or older. The board will now consider a proposal to raise the program’s maximum rebate from $500 to $520, and extend the household maximum income limit from $16,500 to $35,000. The board expects to vote on this resolution at its Jan. 21 meeting.

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