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City of Port Arthur giving $200K to school district to offset unplanned coronavirus spending

The Port Arthur Independent School District is receiving an assist from the city of Port Arthur toward technology costs during the coronavirus pandemic.

City councilmembers authorized a $200,000 allocation to the district during this week’s regular meeting, an amount the Texas Education Agency pledged to match up to 50 percent.

The Port Arthur ISD requested Coronavirus Relief Fund, or CRF, assistance from the city to help with the district’s share of the Operation Connectivity Bulk Purchase Program. The Port Arthur ISD has spent $960,000 on computer equipment for remote learning since last spring.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie said the school district is following the process to receive reimbursement from the agency.

The $200,000 will come from the city’s CRF, which the federal government allocated through its CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to cover non-budgeted expenses associated with the health disaster.

The city has spent all but $40,200 of the $2,994,000 in federal funding but can request reimbursement from the government up to $2,753,800, given the allocation to the district.

“Whatever we go over our CRF allotment, we can’t file with CRF for reimbursement,” interim finance director Kandy Daniel said. “It will be reimbursed through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and the reimbursement would not be 100 percent. We haven’t gone over it.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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