Brainerd School Board learns of CARES Act funds

Brainerd School Board remote
The Brainerd School Board's meeting Monday, June 8, is livestreamed on YouTube while staff members watch on a screen in the hallway at Washington Educational Services Building. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd School District will likely see more than $900,000 worth of relief funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The Federal Cares Act, passed in late March, included $31 billion in emergency education funding for students and schools across the country.

After applications for education funds came out Monday June 8, Brainerd Public Schools Finance Director Marci Lord told school board members that night the district will likely see two allocations of an estimated $84,000 and $847,000. The numbers are not yet final, though.

The first allocation will come from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund and can be used to expand technology to meet student learning needs. That could mean increasing broadband access, establishing wireless hotspots and purchasing devices like laptops and tablets for students. The funds can also be used for improving student-to-teacher ratios for summer school programming.

The second sum of money comes from the Elementary Secondary School Emergency Relief fund. Lord said she is not yet sure of all the ways that money can be used, but according to the Minnesota Department of Education, the funds may be allocated to summer school programs, mental health support and meeting the needs of historically underserved populations. Lord said she will meet with administrators next week to further discuss the funds.


In other business Monday, the board:

Approved hirings for certified employees: Allen Balsley, counselor at Brainerd High School; James Conrad, principal at Harrison Elementary School; Darla Davis, special education teacher at BHS; Sheila Eller, principal at Riverside Elementary School; Wynter Hopson, special education teacher at BHS; Keara Johnson, social studies teacher at BHS; Lorry Parrish, special education teacher at Forestview Middle School; Susan Rioux, special education teacher at Riverside; Megan Trout, English teacher at BHS.

Approved child care program hirings: Amy Anderson, Cylie Backstrom, Donna Benson, Pamela Bloomer, Arica Caughey, Abigale Chileen, Jeremy Crouse, Etta Danielson, Arionna Elsbree, Erica Ferrian, Hannah Grundewald, Cassandra Hale, Jacob Heinlen, Francisco Hernandez, Julie Hoppe, Sarah Knutson, Eric Lemmer, Joshua Lundquist, David Mars, Jordyn Marsh, Rachel Monasmith, Megan Ostendorf, Karlie Ray, Lacey Reynolds, Mara Roberts, Victoria Simenstad Allison Struffert, Emma Trees, Molly Wells, Cameran Whiting and Kaylee Yerks.

Accepted donations: $100 from Jack and Meryl Fish for COVID-19 meal program, and $150 from Brainerd Lakes Area Women of Today for early childhood and family education scholarships.

Approved a change order for the high school project for jack and bore pipe installation in accordance with a plumbing plan reviewed by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry at a cost not to exceed $336,806. The money for this cost will come from the construction contingency fund.

Approved a change order for the high school project for kitchen flooring, changing from tile to fiberglass reinforced plastic at a cost not to exceed $60,125.

Approved a change order for the Garfield Elementary School project for structural steel installation at a cost not to exceed $206,465.

Approved a proposal from Northwoods Playgrounds for playground equipment at the new Baxter Elementary School at a cost not to exceed $50,775.80.


Approved a proposal from All-State Communications for card access systems for Harrison, Nisswa and the new Baxter elementary schools at a cost of $222,850. The cost for Nisswa’s system — $51,917 — will come from a school safety grant the district received for upgrades to Nisswa in 2017. The rest of the funds will come from the district’s technology fund.

The new system has enhanced features compared to the district’s current system, like the ability to shut off the access cards of employees who leave the district instead of having to collect old cards.

Approved a health insurance premium increase of 3.5% for employees the 2020-21 school year. The district has 829 employees and retirees who are policyholders with plans covering 2,345 people.

Approved a contract with Medica for third-party administrative services of health plans. Medica currently serves the district in this capacity and had lower fixed costs than the other six bidders.

Rescheduled the next board meeting to noon June 25, as administrators will attend professional development and leadership training during the regularly scheduled meeting June 22.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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