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School officials optimistic with new funding announcement

Money comes from federal COVID-19 relief funds
Gov. Evers visits Madison Elementary School to announce funding
Gov. Evers visits Madison Elementary School to announce funding(WSAW)
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 7:42 PM CST
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Governor Tony Evers announced a $110 million investment in Wisconsin schools Thursday. The governor visited Madison Elementary School in Stevens Point as part of a three-stop tour across the state.

About $955,000 is being awarded to the Stevens Point School District. The money is available through federal COVID-19 relief funds. The funding will support children and schools as they deal with the effects and recovery from the pandemic.

“Allowing schools to hire additional educators and staff, keep the lights on, provide additional education and mental health support,” Evers said.

The money can also be used to provide supplies and other needs for students. Governor Evers said the money that should have been used for learning was used to prevent COVID-19 in schools.

“The spending money that was budgeted for school supplies had to go to testing,” said Gov. Evers.

The Stevens Point School District is working to deal with mental health and staffing shortages.

“Our mental health issues have been prominent prior to the pandemic but even that much more significant,” said Craig Gerlach, Stevens Point School District Superintendent.

Gerlach acknowledged that students were in isolation for a long time, but that’s not the only problem.

“We have a crisis as it relates to staffing,” said Gerlach, “for the first time in my career we have open positions that we can’t fill.”

Gerlach said the lack of substitute teachers is an issue as well. He said there are classrooms that aren’t being filled when there is staff absent, and said the funds coming at the same time as the holiday season is wonderful.

“It takes the pressure off more than anything,” said Gerlach.

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