Hudson schools receive $458,000 more in COVID-19 relief funds

Treasurer says money shifts burden away from general fund

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
The Hudson School Board on Monday voted to accept $458,000 more in COVID-19 relief funds from Summit County.

HUDSON — The school district has received an additional $458,000 in COVID-19 relief money from Summit County.

The board of education Monday unanimously approved a resolution requesting that the district receive its share of funds from the county's Public School Re-Opening Grant Program and creating a special revenue fund where the money will be deposited.

District treasurer Phillip Butto said the money has already been transferred to the district.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27. Summit County received a distribution of federal funds via the CARES Act and is now dispersing some of that money to school districts.

"[The county] had extra funding that they decided to share with county school districts," said Butto. "…I just want to publicly thank Summit County for that …There are a lot of counties and townships around the state that had received this extra funding and not every one of those government entities had decided to share that money with their member school districts. I think it says a lot about our county that they did that. The money will certainly be helpful."

Butto added that the district has now received a total of $809,000 in COVID-19 relief funding. He said the district was awarded $243,000 in CARES Act directly from the state and $108,000 from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds

Of that $809,000, the district has "either spent or obligated $549,000" on items such as personal protective equipment, technology equipment and software, according to Butto.

"That's a lot of money," observed Butto. "That's a lot of additional support that would've come out of our general fund."

Board president David Zuro said district leaders are "certainly very appreciative of the fact that these funds have been made available to the school district by way of Summit County." He added the funds are "needed" and "will be well-used."

Butto added general fund money may be needed to help some departments that are experiencing financial difficulties.

He noted the food service department is "struggling" because not as many as lunches are being sold "in this atmosphere." Butto said revenue in the food service department in September 2019 was about $150,000, but the revenue amount this past September was approximately $52,000.

He added that if this trend on lower food service revenues continues, there could be a deficit of $500,000 to $700,000 for the year. Butto said the administration will work on finding solutions to this issue.

"There might be some things that we can do to alleviate that deficit," said Butto.

He noted he expects the athletic fund "is likely to need assistance from the general fund as well."

Treasurer receives a pay raise 

The board of education unanimously approved granting a 3 percent pay raise to Butto, effective Aug. 1. Butto was earning $117,900 per year and will draw an annual salary of $121,437.

"We certainly appreciate all your good work and diligent efforts since you've been with us," said Zuro. "Your role is one of vital importance."

Zuro added he appreciated the way Butto had integrated himself into the administrative team.

Butto thanked the board for its "vote of confidence," and noted the administrative group is "a pleasure to work with."

"I thoroughly enjoy being here," said Butto, who started working for the district in August 2019. "I enjoy working with this board. I enjoy working with my colleagues here."

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.