Board Of Education Approves $75M For COVID-19 Response

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Chicago Board of Education has authorized the spending of up to $75 million as its response to the COVID-19 emergency.

School Board President Miguel del Valle said such a large amount of money was authorized in order to give administrators flexibility.

"Authorizing $75 million does not mean we’re going to be spending $75 million. It could be far less than that. It could be somewhere in the middle," he said.



A lot of that money is to go towards new laptops and other devices to help level the playing field for students who do not have access to devices for e-learning. It’s also going for food service, according to Schools CEO Janice Jackson.

"It has really been just shocking and sobering to see the need for many of our families. We, on average, have distributed food packages which have six meals in it to 40-thousand families, roughly, every single day," she said.

Chief Education Officer LaTonya McDade says that, "later this week, we will be rolling out additional guidance and resources for our staff and families, including information on an equity-focused initiative to deliver additional devices to our highest needs students."

Because teachers and other CPS staffers who are not working are getting paid, CPS is paying more money to food service workers and administrators who are still on-the-job. Dr. Jackson said food service workers are receiving time and a half while administrators are being paid 10 percent above their current salaries.

The earliest students return is April 21.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first one conducted by video conference and live streamed on YouTube. The public participation portion of the meeting was conducted with members of the public making their remarks by phone.