Franklin schools maps out $4.8M in CARES Act III spending

Franklin schools will waive student Chromebook fees and pay 20 teachers and 30 assistants with its third round of federal relief funds.

The school district is getting $4.8 million in federal money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act III, passed by Congress and signed into law in March. Along with $1,400 direct payments for most adults making less than $75,000, it provided money to private businesses and public institutions, such as schools.

The nearly $5 million Franklin schools received is the most of any Johnson County school district. Of that money, about $1.3 million will cover Chromebook fees for the district’s more than 5,000 students for two years, said Tina Gross, chief financial officer.

About $832,500 will cover two years of salary and benefits for six teaching positions, including an English teacher, a business teacher, a music teacher, a social studies teacher, a civics teacher and a teacher for Franklin’s alternative school, and $820,000 will pay for two years of salary and benefits for four special education behavioral assistants and four full-time special education teachers, Gross said.

Another $805,000 will go toward paying 26 CARES Act assistants for two years. They serve as instructional assistants who support classroom teachers, she said.

More than $312,000 will pay for 16 summer school teachers for two years, and about $87,000 will cover the salary and benefits of a Franklin Academy supervisor, according to school district documents.

About $230,000 of the CARES Act money will be used to cover Franklin schools’ share of the Central Nine Career Center expansion, which its feeder schools are helping pay for. The rest of that money will come from the Franklin schools’ rainy day fund or operations fund, Gross said.

Of the remaining money, about $145,000 would pay 29 teachers in the form of $5,000 stipends, if there is enough demand for virtual learning. And $120,000 would pay for a subscription to the IXL kindergarten through 12th grade learning site, according to school district documents.

The remaining expenses are less than $100,000 each, and include sanitary equipment, robotics kits for Franklin Community Middle School, developmental preschool supplies, exercise equipment for employees and a high-speed internet subscription, school district documents show.