How Metro Schools will spend $26M in CARES Act funding

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Metro Nashville Public Schools will spend the largest chunk of its federal CARES Act funding on a nutritional program to provide meals to economically disadvantaged children, according to details released by the district last week.

MNPS received $26 million in funding from the CARES Act, which Congress passed earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those funds are in addition to the $24 million Metro will spend to purchase laptops from each of the district’s approximately 90,000 students.

According to a breakdown unveiled by MNPS Director Adrienne Battle, the district will spend $10 million on its nutritional program, $6.2 million on personal protective equipment.

Details of Metro Nashville Public Schools CARES Act spending. (Source: MNPS)
Breakdown of Metro Nashville Public Schools CARES Act budgeting.

Battle has said parents will be allowed to choose whether their children return to in-person learning next month or stay at home for distance learning options. More details about the district’s return-to-school plan will be unveiled on Thursday.

Of the $26 million set aside for Davidson County schools, $2.26 million will be sent to private schools. President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a ruling last month that CARES Act funds must be shared with private schools.

Charter schools, which are public schools operated autonomously by nonprofit organizations, will receive $1.81 million.

The district will also spend $1.65 million on training stipends for teachers. The training will center around technological and pedagogical support.

Mayor John Cooper announced last month a plan to purchase laptops for each MNPS student in anticipation of the need for distance learning this school year. Battle explained at last week’s school board meeting that not all 90,000 laptops will be ready in August and the district is working to provide devices first to students without access to computers.