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August 8, 2022

6/10/2022 2:42:00 PM
County aid for schools to be part of distribution

Of a $10.9 million allotment Chisago County will receive the next couple years in coronavirus and fiscal recovery aid, the county commissioners acted last week to dedicate $600,000  to area school students. It will be up to their districts to apply for the funds which are divided into two categories of uses: for general education and vocational programming.
The County Board approved the funding distribution agreement, application form and process to apply. Expenditures will need to be explained within the applications and comply with US Treasury guidelines.

The county has a number of other identified project needs for the rest of several million in funds.  Reserved uses have been debated to help pay for the broadband Internet enhancements (story June 2) the emergency radios and other large capital expenses.

Based on enrollments, Chisago Lakes ISD2144 gets the largest funding allotment at $242,850.  
North Branch ISD 138 is earmarked for $200,950.  

There are over 1,000 resident-students in Forest Lake Schools, and that district qualifies for $100,065.  
Rush City has 414 pupils and is slated for $31,596.

Braham, and Cambridge- Isanti have allocations of $6,258 and $18,240 respectively.  

There are residents in Franconia who attend Osceola WI schools but the Board heard the rules prohibit using these funds across state lines.

In total Chisago county has identified 7,861 resident students.

County Commissioner Ben Montzka is an attorney and a music instructor for Rush City Schools. and questioned if he had a conflict.  County Attorney Janet Reiter said this is a determination best left to individual elected officials and that if Montzka wanted to recuse himself he could.  The other county board members, however, said the allocations are based on numbers of residents the districts enroll and this criteria is not subjective, plus there’s no direct connection to Rush City music program funding.  The categories are described as business, welding, career development, greenhouse management, woods, supermileage, auto and similar classes. General Education uses will off-set supplies, equipment. The federal rules mandate money be used to address covid-related learning loss.

Montzka then joined the other Board members in adopting the application form and allocations.  School Districts have until end of December 2024 to request the funds.

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