$150k approved for Helena distance learning

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

HELENA — The Helena City Council has approved a total of $150,000 for Helena schools, including $25,000 to each of the four schools and an additional $50,000 to assist with unexpected expenses related to distance learning.

The Council met remotely in a special called meeting Friday, March 27 to approve the measure—just a day after Gov. Kay Ivey announced Alabama public schools would close for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“In light of the recent decision to move schools to (an) online or distance learning program for the rest of the school year I have requested and received approval from the City Council to immediately appropriate $25,000 to each of the four schools located in Helena and set aside an additional $50,000 in funds to assist with any unforeseen expenses or shortfalls that may impact the delivery of the distance learning programs,” Helena Mayor Mark Hall said. “We are committed to helping our students, teachers and families during this time of challenge, by offering our support and commitment to make sure Helena schools have the resources they need, over and above what is already provided by the Board of Education, to help them continue to be successful.”

Originally, schools were set to tentatively reopen April 6, but the worsening crisis and growing data surrounding the pandemic led the governor to extend the closing, making distance learning a priority for the remainder of the school year.

Hall thanked the Council members for their support of the funding.

“I wanted to do something proactive,” Hall said. “We want to make sure they have everything they need.”