Schools ready for classroom teaching again

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Newburgh Schools Superintendent Roberto Padilla

NEWBURGH – As area school districts get ready for more in-person learning, hundreds of millions of federal dollars are coming to the region to help with the fallout of Covid-19.

“We know that our schools have been on the front lines on the pandemic, and it’s only because of the heroic efforts of our teachers, school boards and our superintendents that our kids have been able to continue with their education during this very difficult period,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th Congressional District. “It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t been cheap.”

The American Rescue Plan will provide $130 billion to support education nationwide, and $9 billion is coming to New York State.

Maloney shared the news Tuesday at Newburgh Free Academy, and the city school district will be getting $30-$31 million in relief coming over the next few years.

“We know that 20 percent has to be earmarked toward academy recovery, and we completely agree with that,” said Roberto Padilla, superintendent of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. 

“We believe there will be some flexibility in the mental health, SEL supports, ventilation, and continuous mitigation strategies for Covid. We are still waiting for details. That’s my limited understanding at this point.”

The Middletown School District will be getting $17.7 million to help recover from the pandemic.

“It will be for a lot of supplies that we were holding back on ordering, instructional resources, intervention services,” said Richard Del Moro, Middletown’s superintendent, “those types of activities which were difficult to provide this year, we’ll able to use this money for.”

The Port Jervis City School District is expected to get about $7.2 million in federal relief funds, said Superintendent Mike Rydell.

“We are going to use it for a combination of academic and intervention supports as well as some capital outlay projects, which will create a revenue stream for subsequent years, so we can sustain our programs,” he said.

Maloney said there will be a continued fight to ensure districts will not be victimized by the societal upending brought about by the current situation.

“It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that until the resources are in the classroom, until they are helping teachers, until they are on program getting our kids the help they need after this incredibly difficult and disruptive year,” he said, “our job is not done.”