On October 6, 2020, the Williamson County Commissioners Court approved allocating $12 million from federal CARES Act funds to reimburse schools and school districts located in Williamson County for COVID-19 related expenses in Phase IV of the Wilco Forward program. The funding for this Phase IV program was re-allocated from the $20 million previous allocated to cities in Phase II. As a result of good planning and good stewardship, the needs of the cities were far less than originally expected.
The plan includes funding for Independent School Districts (ISDs) centrally located in Williamson County, charter schools whose campus must be located in Williamson County, and private schools with at least 100 students, four grade levels, and students attended in-person at least three days per week pre-COVID located in Williamson County. The schools would be able to apply for grant funds to cover up to $100 per student in expenses related to COVID-19. For school districts whose total allocation is under $100,000, they will be allotted the lesser of $200 per student or $100,000. The deadline to apply for funding is November 6, 2020.
“Our schools have worked incredibly hard through this pandemic to keep our students safe while also keeping them engaged in learning. We have asked schools and teachers to do something that has not been done before on this scale. It is essential that we support them in this effort through our CARES Act funds,” said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell.
“From the beginning, Williamson County has led from the front on allocating our CARES Act funding in ways that truly help the community in this pandemic. We prioritized $35 million to help our small businesses, we have fully-funded the needs of our cities, and now we are stepping forward to assist with the tremendous burden that COVID-related requirements have created for schools in Williamson County,” said Scott Heselmeyer, County Treasurer and chair of the Wilco Forward Task Force.
After today’s action, the County is still holding approximately $17 million of CARES Act funding in reserve, unallocated, in preparation for future needs.