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Supt. Seals says priorities are student health, campus safety
Federal funds have been directed at schools in La Salle County this week, and US Congressman Henry Cuellar delivered a check for $3.7 million on Monday, March 29, although how much of that money Cotulla ISD will be able to keep remains uncertain.
In a brief statement Tuesday, March 30, Superintendent Dr. Jack Seals said he expects Cotulla ISD to put student safety, security and health at the top of its priority list for expenditure of any funds from the federal American Rescue Plan, but added that the Texas Education Agency may yet dictate how and where the resources may be used.
Of primary concern to the district’s administration and staff, Supt. Seals said this week, is student access to a safe and healthy educational environment, as well as the district’s ability to provide the technology required for future response to any crises, including the possibility of a new viral pandemic or the need to provide remote learning.
Cotulla ISD is presently offering remote instruction to any students whose families have opted to keep their children at home in the coronavirus pandemic, and students who take their classes on campus are placed on an “A&B” rotating schedule as the school district works to prevent crowding.
Rep. Cuellar said on Monday that he hopes the relief funds to the school district will help Cotulla in its pandemic recovery efforts, and school district administrators are eyeing upgraded technology and design improvements to their campuses as vital components of safer campuses.
“Cotulla ISD will receive funds depending on its needs,” the district superintendent said on Tuesday. “How much the state will use before forwarding the funds to Cotulla ISD remains to be determined.”
The US congressman said at a presentation event in Encinal on Monday that he expects to recommend that the state forward all of the available funds to school districts.
“Priorities at Cotulla’s campuses are health and safety,” Supt. Seals said. “This also involves technology, such as paying for electronic access to classrooms, improved security, beefing up our camera systems and enhancing the servers that support them.
“All of these expenditures would first have to be approved by the school board,” the superintendent said. “We will be looking at ways in which we can ensure our district infrastructure and equipment can meet the demands of tomorrow’s education.”