To the Editor:

On the use of COVID funding in schools

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Posted

Last week’s feature article (“CCS puts emergency COVID funding to good use despite challenges,” June 23-29) on Chatham Schools’ use and spending of $18 million in federal COVID relief act funds awarded to our schools (to spend on COVID relief-related projects by 2024) seemed to this reader as reaching too far to spend these funds.

For example, the line item about hiring 53 new employes did not explain what health mitigation or education away from school would occur if lockdowns happened again.

Second, if these jobs are sunsetted in 2024, we taxpayers (local and federal) best not be approached by the school board to come up with the $450,000 each year moving forward to keep these positions funded. Our property taxes in two years will need to be increased to retain these positions.

I cannot imagine an extra three years of additional education for — again, unstated COVID-mitigated justification mentioned in the article last week. I ask the board to also make public the “COVID benefit rationale” in the near future as a follow-up article.

Are we now left to wonder about the new hires and the degrees and accreditations these teachers needed? As we did before COVID, and with little detail, are now informed that three years of federal taxpayer dollar programs for these new teachers will be of great value?

The fed and the state have five or six main categories each county can use federal COVID funds for. I would very much like to see Chatham County government and Chatham County Schools to put out a report in detail justifying these new hiring, education measures, and all issues about spending $5.1 million to date that were presented to us in that article, and how it fits the federal and state COVID relief spending guidelines.

When our Chatham County and Chatham school district budgets, and Chatham property taxes and tax rates, are again discussed again in two or three years, may we well see these 53 were sunsetted jobs and and not placed in front of Chatham taxpayers again.

Don Wollum
Pittsboro

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