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City, County Recognized For Sharing CARES Funds For Devices For SSISD Students

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The city and county were recognized by Sulphur Springs Independent School District Board of Trustees and administrators Monday evening for CARES Act fund contributions for devices for SSISD students.

“We have the wonderful honor of being able to recognize the City of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County for contributions to the Sulphur Springs Independent School District,” SSISD Board of Trustees President Robert Cody said during Monday evening’s trustees meeting.

SSISD Superintendent Michael Lamb presents Sulphur Springs Mayor John Sellers with a certificate of appreciation. SSISD school board and administrators clap in appreciation to the City of Sulphur Springs

Superintendent Michael Lamb explained the process that lead to SSISD asking for and receiving CARES Act funding from both the city and county.

“With COVID-19, as you know, we needed more devices for our students, computer devices. We ended up with so much of this COVID situation has been about doing something then, figuring out how to do it later. We needed the technology. We purchased it, but it was going to hit hard on our budget,” Lamb said. “We spent $255,600 to get some laptops and some hotspots.”

The devices were needed for classroom use as well as for use by Virtual Academy students and so that the district will have them should on-campus learning have to transition to at-home learning due to illness or weather issues.

The state then indicated possibly up half of the cost of laptops and hotspots could be reimbursed by the state. SSISD was awarded $127,000 from the state.

The state then announced that the state would match dollar for dollar any CARES Act funding the city and county would be willing to share with the school district. SSISD officials contacted both the city and county to see if each would be willing to share some of the CARES Act funding allocated to each to help the school district purchase devices.

The Sulphur Springs City Council agreed to allocated $31,950 in CARES Act funding to SSISD to help with the technology purchase for SSISD students.

SSISD Superintendent Michael Lamb and Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom

Hopkins County Commissioner Court also agreed to help, but weren’t initially sure how much would be allocated to SSISD. There are 6 rural school districts in Hopkins County that also have technology needs, perhaps even greater needs since some are not located within a city limit that has CARES funding that can be shared. After consideration, Hopkins County allocated $5,000 to SSISD to help with the purchase.

“Which means that same amount both times the state gave again, for a grand total that the state gave us of $164,750, which means we are getting $255,000 worth of technology and we, SSISD, are spending $53,000 of our own money. We can’t say thank you enough to the county and city for helping us do this in a tough time,” Lamb said.

Lamb presented Sulphur Springs Mayor John Sellers and County Judge Robert Newsom with certificates of appreciation for the City of Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County, respectively, in recognition of CARES Act funds contributions made by each toward the purchase of technology devices for the benefit of SSISD students.

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“You guys have really supported us well and we really appreciate it,” Lamb said. “Thank you in all you were able to do and pull off with your group on behalf of all of our kids.”

“Yall are the ones doing all of the work and you’re doing a great job,” Newsom said, expressing appreciation to the school personnel in the room for caring so much for the students.

“We just couldn’t stand the idea of leaving state money on the table,” Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell said.

“It didn’t take long for them to jump onto this offer so I appreciate it very much,” Lamb said.

Author: Faith Huffman

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