ARCANUM — Arcanum-Butler Local Schools recently received a portion of CARES Act funding distributed through Twin and Van Buren Townships in the form of a subgrant. The school district plans to use these funds for the purchase of Zoono cleaning products, and to bolster the school’s online education programs.
To provide some background, subgranting COVID-19 funds differs from regular grants in that there is no contractual relationship where goods or services are purchased. Rather, subgranting, as explained in instructions provided by the U.S. Treasury, allows funds to be spent in a way that meets the eligibility requirements outlined when funds were initially distributed. The CARES Act stipulates, however, that these funds must be used for COVID-19 related spending prior to Dec. 31, 2020. Pursuant to Ohio House Bill 481, nearly $350 million of such funds have already been distributed at the state and local levels.
As it relates to Aranum-Butler, the school has received subgrants of approximately $80,000 from Twin Township, and approximately $17,000 from Van Buren Township. Of the $80,000 from Twin Township, the school will purchase Zoono Microbe Shield, a long-lasting antimicrobial spray that offers a powerful sanitation coating. This product will be sprayed on all surfaces, including in the classrooms and on the buses. Also from Twin Township funds, the school will bolster its distance learning resource, Edgenuity.
Around ten percent of students at Arcanum registered for online learning, so the school aims to keep their educational standards high in spite of a handful of students opting to not return to the classroom. The school has previous experience working with Edgenuity, as it is the same program used at the Arcanum Virtual Academy.
Of the $17,000 provided by Van Buren Township, the school will use a smaller portion for online learning, and the rest will be used to cover the custodial costs of applying the Zoono cleaning product. A part-time custodial staff member was recently added to ensure the proper application of the product.
Kip Gray, Treasurer of Arcanum-Butler Local Schools, set the wheels in motion for securing these funds. He began by reaching out to both Twin and Van Buren Townships to inquire about the possibility of the administrations having “leftover” funds. Gray noted that Arcanum, much like many schools across the U.S., have felt the economic impacts of COVID-19 in many ways.
“Receiving these funds was a game changer,” said Gray. “As someone who looks at the books everyday, I can see how COVID-19 has impacted us, so to receive these funds has been a major help. This is big for the community and our students, and we are extremely grateful to both townships.”
Arcanum-Butler Superintendent John Stephens also spoke to how grateful the school is to Twin and Van Buren Townships, and to Gray for working with the townships to secure and outline what the funds will be used for.
“On behalf of the Arcanum-Butler Board of Education and its administration, I cannot thank the Twin and Van Buren Township trustees enough for their support. The sub-grant monies provided have helped the district manage the economic impact due to COVID-19,” said Stephens, adding, “I also want to thank our treasurer, Kip Gray, who worked with township treasurers Deb Dynes and Kent Thompson to coordinate and complete the necessary steps and paperwork during the process.”
As with all schools in the area, Arcanum-Butler remains dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of all staff and students, and receiving these funds reaffirms the school district’s commitment to making education the best it can be during these strange times.