Suamico to donate unused CARES Act funds to school district
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – The village board approved a motion Monday, Oct. 5, to direct Village Administrator Alex Kaker to collaborate with the Howard-Suamico School District and State of Wisconsin to donate Suamico’s unused Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the district.
Because the village doesn’t expect to use its entire $207,040 CARES Act allocation eligible for reimbursement, Kaker was directed last month by board members to present a list of items the village could purchase and donate to the district to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Those items include, by name, number and cost:
• MERV 13 filters (one three-month changeout), $23,000.
• Cafeteria tables for social distancing (38), $62,519.
• Professional cordless electrostatic sprayers (two), $2,500.
• Purell sanitizer (405 cases), $13,304.
• Disposable face masks for adults (11,600), $4,292.
• Disposable face masks for children (11,600), $4,292.
Kaker said purchases made on behalf of the district will only occur once it is determined the village no longer has a need for CARES Act funding before the end of the expenditure period Nov. 6.
“You’ll notice there’s about $109,000 listed, but we will only donate up to the amount that we will not use,” he said. “As of this afternoon, we’re looking like it will be closer to around $75,000 that we’ll have left.”
Kaker said purchasing Wi-Fi equipment for Suamico Elementary School, which the board previously authorized Sept. 21 when it met with district staff, came to around $4,400.
The board favored immediately going ahead with expanding Wi-Fi access outside the school to be in contact with those picking up students to reduce the number of vehicles waiting and keep them off County Highway B.
As for the items Kaker presented on the list and how many of them would ultimately be purchased with the remaining funds, the board agreed to have him and the district figure out what is needed.
“I could definitely report back to the village board in November about what items we actually went ahead and purchased,” he said.
The Howard village board passed a similar motion a week earlier to donate more than $73,000 worth of items to the district for reimbursement by the State of Wisconsin with CARES Act money.
Those items and their respective costs include:
• Meadowbrook Elementary School Wi-Fi access project materials, $16,243.
• Twelve cafeteria tables for continued social distancing, $28,800.
• Four electrostatic sprayers for cleaning and sanitation, $5,000.
• Changing out MERV 13 filters for air quality districtwide over a three-month period, $23,000.
The idea of donating unused funds came from an informational linkage meeting the district hosted Aug. 17, when Sen. Rob Cowles suggested working with the state to make funds allocated to the villages available to the district.
Cowles said he confirmed with the Wisconsin Department of Administration that villages may purchase reimbursable equipment or supplies using their grant allocations and donate the materials to a school district, rather than return the unused amount to the state.