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Brevard Public Schools to receive $14-15 million in coronavirus-relief aid

BPS News Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2020
Media contact: Nicki Hensley
Mobile/text: (321) 917-7728, hensley.jennifer@brevardschools.org


Brevard Public Schools to receive $14-15 million in coronavirus-relief aid; Superintendent to provide budget update amid uncertainty


VIERA, FL – Brevard Public Schools estimates the district will receive between $14-15 million as a proportional share of the estimated $17.4 million in education stabilization funds from the federal government’s CARES Act stimulus bill passed in late March. School districts are still awaiting direction from the Florida Department of Education for conformation on the final allocation and application guidelines to apply for the funding.


“We welcome this much needed federal aid,” said Dr. Mark Mullins, Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools. “This money is necessary to help cover the unanticipated costs associated with our COVID-19 response. These are one-time only funds that will have specific parameters for their use. The aid will fund important academic programming and social-and-emotional support systems for our students.”


The CARES Act earmarked $13.2 billion for relief to elementary and secondary schools nationwide. The estimated per district funding totals, released by the Florida Department of Education last week, are based on the established Title I, Part A formula allocation. A proportional share of the funds received by BPS must be shared with Brevard County-based public charter and private schools based on student enrollment.


The announcement of the funding estimates comes as Florida school districts await Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision on whether to sign the state education budget passed by the Florida Legislature in March. Under that budget -- passed before the statewide economic slowdown -- the district expected a $2 million shortfall in funding for operations due to a state-mandated increase in its payment to the Florida Retirement System and a decline in enrollment (and per-student funding) due to charter school growth.


With additional budget demands that include necessary health insurance costs to correct five years of no premium increases and higher costs for services, the district is facing a current $13 million deficit, and that does not factor in the operational impacts of compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.


The pandemic presents further potential budget complications for BPS including the unknown cost of re-opening schools under new social-distancing guidelines and added enrollment uncertainties.
Like most school districts across the country, BPS is tackling tough decisions as it tries to build a budget for 2020-21, anticipating significant state budget cuts due to the revenue losses incurred by the coronavirus. Already, it has reduced expenses by $28 million over five years to afford raises for teachers, new mental-health services, a regional bus system and choice programs.
Superintendent Mullins will discuss budget issues and coronavirus-relief aid when he presents an operating budget update to the school board at its June 16 meeting in Viera.