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Parents group presses school boards, Door County officials for COVID-19 information

A group of parents of Door County is looking for answers on why your kids may have to wear masks or be quarantined due to COVID-19. The Door County Parents Association sent an email to local school boards and potentially county board members last Friday requesting all of the information they have received from Door County Public Health Officer Sue Powers. 

 

Among the 10 items it listed in the email, the Door County Parents Association is asking about possible laws that the Door County Public Health Department is potentially telling school officials to use to enforce masking policies and quarantine protocols. The group also questions the financial incentives a district receives for following the recommendations, asking if “it is appropriate to sell our children’s health and well-being.” School officials were given 14 days to comply with the request. 

 

Sturgeon Bay School District provided the dollar amounts they received in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The district could receive approximately $2 million over three rounds of funding from the federal government. To date, the district has spent just over $106,000 from round one, which was used for reusable face coverings and clear plastic desk dividers for last school year. The funds are available to the district until 2024.

 

You can read more about the letter sent by the Door County Parents Association and the financial information provided to the Sturgeon Bay School Board below. Contact has been made with the Door County Parents Association and a follow-up story will be done in the near future.

 

LETTER TO LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS

Dear Board President and members,

We are a large group of concerned taxpayers from all areas of Door County and are reaching out to request all information the board has received from Door County Public Health Director, Sue Powers and her staff. 

 

It is requested that the board provides all information provided by public health, including but not limited to the following:

 

1. What state and federal laws does the County Health Department operate under (cite laws and provide links)?

 

2. Who is holding our county health department accountable?

 

3. Who is the direct supervisor to Sue Powers?

 

4. What information has Public Health provided regarding what the end game to this may be? At what point is COVID no longer going to put a burden on our schools? What is an acceptable "case" count to stop the recommendation of masking and quarantining healthy people?

 

5. What law is public health telling schools to use to enforce masking children? Cite the law and provide a link.

 

6. What law allows public health and schools to obtain medical records for a shot that is not on the CDC schedule at all? Cite the law and provide a link.

 

7. What law allows discrimination by the health department regarding quarantine of healthy individuals based on not receiving an experimental use shot that is NOT on the CDC childhood schedule?

 

8. What law allows schools in other counties to not mask, not do any contact tracing and not do any quarantining of healthy people?

 

9. What peer- reviewed scientific double-blind studies has Public Health and/or Door County Memorial Hospital experts shared with you that clearly shows it is healthy and effective for children to wear a mask for 6-8 hours every day? Provide actual peer-reviewed studies with the link. 

 

10. For school board members, how much in funds is each school district receiving in federal and state stimulus funding, and what are the exact eligibility criteria and conditions set in order for the district to receive these funds? When is the date for enrollment used to determine funding? What have the funds been used for or what is planned in the future? See article 

            https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/wisconsin-school-districts-set-to-receive-at-least-2-2-billion-in-federal-stimulus-aid/article_8f026f9f-0797-53f4-af64-6a7a230b5008.html .

 

Do you feel it is appropriate to sell our children’s health and well-being?

 

A response with all information provided to you by Public Health and all other information requested above is needed within 14 days. If you have not received information that directly answers the above questions, please request the information from Public Health and provide to us at the email below.

 

Submit all information to DoorCountyParentsAssociation@gmail.com

 

Sincerely,

Door County Parents Association

 

To: School District of Sturgeon Bay School Board
From: Jake Holtz, SBSD Business Manager
RE: Questions circulating on social media
Date: 10/6/2021

 

The following are answers to some questions that have been circulating on social media, among some groups, and it appears could be working their way to our emails. My responses are based on the reference in the questions to the Wisconsin State Journal’s April 7, 2021 article titled ‘Wisconsin school districts set to receive at least $2.2 billion in federal stimulus aid’ 

 

1. How much in federal in funds is each school district receiving?
The School District of Sturgeon Bay has been allocated the following from the three rounds of ESSER funding (total of $2,061,675.84):
Round 1: $149,449 (of which, $24,429.16 was to be set aside for private schools)
Round 2: $596,655
Round 3: $1,340,001
Please note that these amounts have each changed a couple of times already. However, for SBSD, they have not changed dramatically. So, we can be confident in saying, at the very least, that we will receive over $2 million in federal relief funding.


2. How much state funding is each school district receiving?
The state has provided no COVID relief funding. Per the programs, however, the state was tasked with distributing the funds to each district. Wisconsin chose to work loosely off the Title IA funding formula, which targets students from low?income households. For the second and third rounds of funding, the state legislature did add some funding for districts. The amount of these funds was/is dependent on the number of days those districts held in?person instruction during the 2020?21 school year. Eligibility for these extra funds is limited to those districts who received less than $395 and $781 (ESSER II & III, respectively) from the base funding amounts. Because Sturgeon Bay received more than the $395 and $781 per pupil, we were not eligible for the funds based on days of in?person instruction. Apart from the federal funds, the state, for fiscal year 2021?22, is allocating an estimated $4,999,570 in equalization aid (which offsets the tax levy portion of the revenue limit), and $796,166 in per pupil categorical aid (which goes above and beyond the revenue limit). These are annual allocations and are exclusive of any federal funding. 

 

3. What are the conditions set to receive those funds?
The School District of Sturgeon Bay had no conditions to meet, other than to share the
$24,429.16 from the first round of funding with St John Bosco and St Peters Lutheran. As stated above, the in?person instruction was not a condition SBSD had to meet to receive any funding.


4. What is the date for enrollment used to determine funding?
There are two major count dates that determine school funding – the third Friday in September and the second Friday in January each year. 
The 3rd Friday count date, which was used to determine the revenue limit for 2021?22 was September 17, 2021 this year.  The 2nd Friday count date will be January 14, 2022 this year. This January count date is used in conjunction with the 3rd Friday date in the equation for equalization aid. The count date that determines Title IA eligibility (counting students from low?income households), which was used for these grants, was December 15th, 2020. 

 

5. What have the funds been used for or what is planned in the future?
To date, the district has spent $106,357.15 of the ESSER fund from round one. That money was spent on reusable facial coverings and clear plastic desk dividers for the 2020?21 school year. Looking ahead at how we plan to spend these monies, which are available until 2024, we are working with a consultant that specializes in literacy instruction, with the goal of helping students who may have lost ground during the pandemic. We expect that total cost to be in the $250,000 to $300,000 over the course of the next two to three fiscal years. Beyond that, our hands are a bit tied. In the state’s most recent biennial budget, rather than increase the revenues of school districts, to help offset inflationary expense increases, we were told we had to use the ESSER funding to cover these continuing costs. This means that we will need to work within the guidelines of the allowable costs (guide found here) to cover or offset inflationary raises for our staff and increases in other costs like transportation, utilities, supplies, etc.

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