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Northwoods school districts to receive extra coronavirus relief funds

Katie Thoresen

Governor Evers announced $110 million in funding for schools last week.

The money comes from federal coronavirus relief funds.

The $110 million dollars will be allocated to Wisconsin School Districts based on the number of students. It comes out to $133.72 per student.

Here’s a breakdown of how the money will be distributed to school districts in our region:

Hurley: $69,668

Mercer: $19,657

Lac du Flambeau: $75,952

Northland Pines: $171,293

Phelps: $14,709

North Lakeland: $16,982

Crandon: $118,742

Goodman Armstrong: $13,773

Wabeno: $50,947

Laona: $31,691

Three Lakes: $66,324

Rhinelander: $320,656

Lakeland Union: $99,085

Minocqua J1: $77,958

Woodruff J1: $60,173

Tomahawk: $152, 439

Merrill: $324,534

Elcho: $37,842

White Lake: $21,261

Antigo: $285,755

Phillips: $99,353

Prentice: $50,412

Chequamegon: $100,021

“We always appreciate any funding that we can get. It helps not only impact learning and our staff and supporting them, but it also helps our local taxpayers,” said Scott Foster, Northland Pines School District Administrator.

Foster said the one of the best parts of this funding is the flexibility.

The district isn’t restricted in terms of having to use it for certain project.

There’s also not a time limit on using it.

“It’s the same flexibility we would have with our state funding so it’s not like we can just irresponsibly use it. It’s just that we can really look at how can we impact learning, how could we maintain a building and how could we improve something,” said Foster. “Some of the other federal dollars are a challenge. There’s a lot of rules and regulations which makes this hard to use them how locally you may need them.”

Foster said he’s proud of the district’s ability to stay open and keep educating kids throughout the pandemic, but it hasn’t been without its extra expenses.

FORK Cares

Schools aren’t seeing the level of federal funding they were getting at the beginning of the pandemic.

A local organization is stepping up to fill in the gaps once again.

Foster said in the beginning of the pandemic, federal dollars helped feed kids, even when school wasn’t in session.

That’s not the case anymore.

“This year we’re able to give free breakfast and free lunch to every student at school, however over breaks we are not. Originally FORK Cares was designed for this reason, but last year because of the government provided it, they did not,” said Foster.

Feed Our Rural Kids is bringing back its FORK Cares program.

For families that qualify, FORK will provide on free meal per day while the students aren’t in school over winter break.

“We certainly do our due diligence in making sure all families know of it. If there’s some that we need to target, maybe we help them in other ways. Our school social workers will let them know, but it was available. We do broadcast it and families do sign up within the Northland Pines School District to pick up these items right before break,” said Foster.

The FORK Cares program is also available to students in the Phelps School District.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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