The latest batch of federal stimulus dollars going to Cherokee County School District will be used in part to hire more teachers next school year, according to the school district.

The district is slated to get $35.2 million in the latest round from the federal American Rescue Plan, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

So far, CCSD has been granted $19.3 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding: $3.7 in the first round and $15.6 million in the second, district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said.

The district plans to hire an additional 125 teachers next school year, and will use previously allocated CARES Act dollars and the latest stimulus to reimburse the costs of those teachers, Jacoby said.

Superintendent Brian Hightower is expected to present more specific plans for the stimulus money with a proposed budget later this spring.

“We’ve been very appreciative of the CARES Act funding that began last year, and we are grateful for its continuation,” Hightower said in a statement. “These monies allowed us to mitigate the costs of State austerity cuts as we operated both in-person and online learning options for families and shouldered an additional $9 Million in pandemic-related expenses. We will continue to share our planned use of these funds publicly and in advance of School Board approval to maintain our longstanding financial transparency.”

The 125 teachers will be hired to help students with learning gaps catch up, Jacoby said. The newest stimulus requires school districts to spend at least 20% to address learning loss. Some teachers may be assigned to reduce class sizes, while others may be used for one-on-one remediation.

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Shannon Ballew is the managing editor at the Cherokee Tribune and the Cherokee Ledger-News. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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