67ºF

Duval school district has spent more than $10 million in response to COVID-19

District applying for CARES Act reimbursement of applicable expenses

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The outbreak of COVID-19 not only cost many students a traditional end to their school year, it also cost Duval County Public Schools millions of dollars.

According to records obtained by News4Jax, the district has spent more than $10 million in COVID-19-related costs so far.

The News4Jax I-TEAM requested documents to show how much the district has spent on handling the pandemic since the beginning of April.

A seven-page document outlines Duval County Public Schools’ 10740 fund, which is used by the district to “categorize expenditures specifically addressing COVID-19 costs.”

The total since April 1 is just over $10.2 million.

Some of the receipts show expenses for school supplies, mobile hotspots to help with distance learning and, of course, facemasks and face shields.

Last month, News4Jax reported the school district voted in favor of spending more than $300,000 on personal protective equipment, or PPE, for all students and faculty ahead of reopening this fall.

That’s $134,000 for 60,000 masks for elementary-age kids; $140,000 for 70,000 high-school-age masks; and another $26,000 to pay for 13,000 masks for staff.

Travel costs for certain trips, cleaning supplies, updated software and many more expenses are covered under the fund, and it is still accruing.

The school district provided News4Jax with some additional information about the fund Wednesday night, including the source of the listed expenditures.

“The funding for these expenditures is coming from our General Fund,” DCPS spokeswoman Sonya Duke-Bolden said in an email Wednesday. “The District will submit an application for the CARES Stimulus Funds by June 30, 2020.”

According to Duke-Bolden, the district can include in that request any expenditures incurred on or after March 13, the date on which President Trump declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

News4Jax requested the entire 10740 fund record, which only listed expenditures between April 1 through June 26, including future pending transactions.

“The district’s submitted application will be reviewed by the Florida Department of Education to determine if the expenditures are allowed under the CARES Act,” Duke-Bolden’s email said.

Some of the biggest expenditures in the fund were to cover transportation costs, such as those labeled “GSA,” to denote Geographic Service Area.

“The GSA items relate to the expenditures for our bus vendors, such as the delivery of meals, instructional packets, etc.,” Duke-Bolden’s email said.

The items labeled “1044919″ are related to the purchase of custodial supplies for the district’s schools and its warehouse.


About the Author: