Green Bay school district adding staff with CARES funds
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay school district is already putting its share of CARES Act funds from the federal government to work by adding staff.
Green Bay is earmarking approximately $72.5 million, or $3,820 per pupil, as part of three stimulus bills passed by Congress over the past year.
Superintendent Stever Murley updated the board of the staffing additions during a special board/superintendent retreat May 17.
“This was not a normal school year, and so we found ourselves in a position where we added some folks to the team over the course of the school year,” Murley said. “Some started sooner, rather than later. Some we just brought on board. But the intentionality here is to provide services to the students over the course of this year and over the course of the next four school years.”
Additional staff the district has or plans to hire for the next school year include school nurses, special education teachers, a manager of custodial services, summer school teachers, a program support teacher, a school psychologist and a social worker, among others.
“There is a broad variety of staff who have joined the team in order to make sure we are able to meet our children’s needs this school year, this summer and as we get ready for next year,” Murley said.
The district also plans to add three administrator positions next year – a director of special education, a director of curriculum and a director of literacy.
“Specifically, the three areas that we are looking to add next year are really based on some of the greatest areas that our children have in terms of accelerating their learning, addressing some of that learning loss and closing those gaps,” he said.
Murley said all positions are being funded either directly through CARES funds or through what Murley calls displacement funding.
“So, we may be able to pay for something out of the ESSER funding that normally would come out of the general fund,” he said. “That then frees up space in the general fund so we can pay for those services that otherwise we would have no funding source for.”
Murley said the administration will be mindful over the next several years as to not create a “funding cliff.”
“Part of the job that we have as an administrative team, between now and the time those funds run out, is to make sure that we right-size the team and bring it back down to the level during the 2021-22 school year,” he said. “We want to make sure as we go through this process that we have a system built in that recognizes that this is short-term funding and that the expiration of that funding means that we have the funds in the system to pay for the people who work here and that we don’t find ourselves going over that cliff.”
Murley said subsequent staff reductions would mostly be done through attrition.
“This is a once-in-a-career opportunity from this standpoint,” he said. “Usually you have to wait until those folks retire – whether they are support staff, certified staff or administrators – in order to do the reconfiguration. Because of the fact that they are essentially advance funding for us right now, we have the ability and the liberty to hire the folks now, to bring these people in to lead this work and then attrition, through the natural course of the transition, will allow us to right-side the organization without having to go through layoffs.”
All hirings have and will continue, to be confirmed by the board.
Editor’s note: CLICK HERE to learn more about the CARES Act.