Remote learning and federal money

Editor’s note: In the May 4 election, registered voters who reside in the Sidney City Schools District will be asked to approve a 0.75% Earned Income Tax levy. In the weeks leading up to the election, the Sidney Daily News will be publishing a question each week — provided by the school district — about the tax levy.

SIDNEY — Doesn’t remote learning save money? And what about the federal money the schools received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act?

Remote learning has not saved the district money; in some ways, the district expenses have increased to meet students’ remote learning needs.

• Though approximately 14% of the K-12 students are learning remotely, thee district’s staffing remains the same.

• Bus routes have remained fully intact despite a portion of students learning remotely.

• The grade 5-12 teachers are teaching both in-person and online, sometimes simultaneously.

• Yje district was able to secure grant money to help offset technology purchases to support in-person and remote learning.

Sidney City Schools has also seen an increase in costs due to COVID-19, including personal protective equipment (PPE), increased cleaning and sanitizing and food service.

Sidney City Schools did receive $652,607 in federal money from the CARES Act. While this money has helped offset the increased costs mentioned above, CARES Act money is restricted to be used toward COVID-related expenses. It cannot be used for staffing salaries/benefits or utilities. The CARES Act money does not offset the state budget cuts or reductions needed to stabilize our budget.

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, Sidney City Schools will be asking voters to approve a 0.75% Earned Income Tax levy to generate $3.3 million a year to support the district’s operations.

More information about the Sidney City Schools levy can be found at

This is part of a series of weekly questions and answers. Please check back each week for more.