About $72 million remains of the $105 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds allocated to Montgomery County, officials said at the Nov. 10 court session. Noack said the item will be on the agenda for the next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 17.
Noack’s proposal is to reimburse the districts located entirely within the county at a rate of $200 per student. Those districts are Conroe, Montgomery, Willis, Magnolia, Splendora and New Caney ISDs. A previous measure to reimburse the districts at a rate of $40 per student with $4.4 million in CARES Act funds was approved at a Oct. 27 meeting. At that meeting, officials said the U.S. Treasury allows reimbursement up to $500 per student for COVID-19 related expenses. A total of 113,771 students were enrolled in those districts as of certified enrollment numbers Oct. 30, which would mean $22.75 million at a rate of $200 per student.
“I believe it is in the best interest of our students and the taxpayers to use this money specifically for COVID-19-related expenses, as it was intended,” Noack said. “There is no better use of these dollars than protecting the bright future of our children.”
Conroe ISD, which is the largest of the school districts located entirely within Montgomery County, is always in need of additional supplies and support while it is operating through the pandemic, CISD Superintendent Curtis Null said in the release.
“There is an ever present need to purchase additional PPE and cleaning supplies,” Null said. “We will also be able to invest in more technology to help bridge the digital divide for students in need.”
In several Commissioners Court meetings, Noack has expressed concern about whether the county’s use of CARES Act funds will be deemed appropriate and reimbursed by the federal government, but on Nov. 12, he said he feels comfortable about the proposed school district-related expenses.
“Talking to the county attorney, we feel this is the safest possible expenditure,” Noack said. “The districts have been given a much broader ability to spend this money than the county.”
Meeting agendas are posted on the county website. Commissioners Court meetings are held at 501 N. Thompson St., Fourth Floor, Ste. 402, Conroe.