NEOSHO, Mo. — Money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will help the Neosho School District get a head start on replacing laptop computers for students.

The Board of Education in a recent special meeting approved a measure to spend $509,086 on 1,900 Chromebook laptop computers. The purchase also includes an education license for administrative management and cases for each laptop.

The payment will be spread across two budget years — $354,400 will be paid in the current school year, and the balance of $161,955, which includes an interest payment of $7,269, will be paid out of the next year’s budget by July 30. The $354,400 payment will be reimbursed with money from the CARES Act passed earlier this year.

Superintendent Jim Cummins said the federal grant enables the district to get a jump on its schedule for replacing computers. The district normally replaces about half of its laptops for students every three years, using a similar lease payment plan.

“That program would have been about $177,000 a year for the next three budget cycles,” Cummins said. “What we’ve done is accelerated that program because of the availability of CARES Act money.”

The Chromebooks are an important part of virtual learning plans for district, Cummins said.

The school district has received about $1.22 million in funding from the federal grant, and used some of it to pay for related products, such as personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

The district is in the middle of its holiday break, with students scheduled to return on Tuesday, Jan. 5. The long break should help students deal with quarantines related to COVID-19 cases, Cummins said.

Cummins said that the district was “in good shape” with COVID-19 cases. As of Dec. 18, the last day Neosho students attended classes, the district reported 19 active cases, involving 12 students and seven staff members.

“We consider ourselves extremely blessed that we made it to Christmas break,” Cummins said. “Hopefully we will see the waning of this before too long.”

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