New federal dollars are being clawed back for school districts in Sussex County as part of the American Rescue Plan, the Covid-19 relief package signed into law in March.
At a recent announcement at Vernon Township High School, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) said Sussex County school districts in the Fifth Distric will receive an estimated total $9.09 million.
After years of school funding cuts from the state and new expenses in response to the pandemic, he said, these new federal resources come through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER) for schools to use to follow CDC guidance to safely and fully reopen schools for in-person learning. The money will be used to improve ventilation in school buildings, implement programs to meet the academic and mental health needs of students hit hardest by the pandemic, invest in Wi-Fi hotspots and technology so that students can stay connected, and establish after-school and summer programs to help students catch up.
Gottheimer was joined at the Vernon schools, which will get $1.5 million, by Vernon Mayor Howard Burrell, Executive County Superintendent Dr. Gayle Carrick, Superintendent of Vernon Schools Karen D’Avino, Vernon Council President Harry Shortway, Vernon Councilman Andrew Pitsker, Vernon school board president Justin Annunziata, and Pam McCann of the Secretary School Education Association.
“Without his support of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund, our district would not be able to plan for the future our children deserve,” said D’Avino. “This funding finally allows us to plan on caring for our facilities and students in ways that are necessary to develop the whole child and support academic, athletic, artistic, and social emotional needs.”
Vernon Mayor Howard Burrell said, “Funds from the American Rescue Plan will deliver relief to many who have been negatively impacted by this Covid-19 crisis, and thanks to the tireless work of our congressman, Vernon Township will get its share of these funds.”