The Clarksdale Municipal School District received a $751,981 Equity in Distance Learning Act grant from the US Department of Treasury for the COVID relief fund.
CMSD superintendent Dr. Earl Joe Nelson said the district has a year to spend the money. He noted the district already received $2.8 million through the Every Student Succeeds Act, but $1.2 million of it was spent on devices, $800,000 went toward connectivity and more than $100,000 went to private schools in the area as legally required for students with free and reduced income.
“I want people to know that we spend every amount on our students because we’re buying 2,500 devices,” Nelson said. “We’re looking at how we could do connectivity because there are some guidelines of what we could pay for and what we can’t pay for. If our families are receiving any type of federal funding, they will be able to get any type of connectivity for $10 a month based on that. We urge them if they could do that to please do that for their students.”
Nelson said director of technology Amanda Bell and assistant superintendent Dr. Shanta Rhodes were able to work together and successfully apply for the Equity in Distance Learning Act grant.
He said expenses for distance learning include devices, connectivity and other resources. The district is using Google programs, i-Ready for younger students through eighth grade and Admentum for older students.
“In the Delta, connectivity is the worst in all of Mississippi,” Nelson said. “Me being a part of the Lieutenant Governor’s (Delbert Hosemann) committee, I’ve really pushed us working to get connectivity here in the Delta area.”
Nelson said the CMSD plans to apply for more funds for distance learning and put together a plan for a period of years to be able to maintain all the technological devices. He noted receiving the extra funds gives the district more time to put together a plan.