When: Columbia Borough school board meeting, Aug. 4.
What happened: The school district has spent over $338,000 on supplies, equipment and technology needed to fully reopen schools for the 2020-21 school year. County, state and federal grant funds were used to cover these expenses, said Keith Ramsey, chief of finance and operations.
Background: In July, the board approved a reopening plan to implement various policies deemed necessary to offer in-person instruction districtwide in the fall. Ramsey presented a report that details each coronavirus-related expense incurred by the district. The administration has purchased $72,224 in supplies, $47,062 in equipment, and $219,404 in technology.
Expenses: To ensure the safety of students and staff, the district acquired disinfectant wipes for classroom use, at a cost of $60,722; disinfectant and cleaner, $7,000; various types of plexiglass shields, $4,981; 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer; 500 face shields; and 15,500 face masks. Bathroom hand towel dispensers and contactless water bottle stations, $26,000, will replace hand dryers and water fountains. The district also spent $7,500 on 150 Zoom licenses, $89,982 on 150 AT&T hotspots and $86,400 on cameras, speakers and wireless microphones.
Future expenses: Administrators will seek to purchase another 2,000 face shields, at a cost of $2 per shield, and a backpack disinfectant sprayer for each school, at $330 per pack. Additionally, the district may spend about $400,000 on a districtwide WiFi network for all school-affiliated devices, said Superintendent Tom Strickler.
What’s next: Ramsey said these and other budgeted items will be immediately available when district schools reopen Aug. 24.