The Guilford County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the Superintendent's 2020/2021 budget recommendation on Tuesday. It doesn't include anticipated relief funding from the Cares Act.

The total proposed budget for the new academic year is more than $820 million. There's a large chunk for operating costs, capital improvements, and salary increases for personnel and bus drivers.

But the biggest priority is mitigating and recovering lost learning during the coronavirus pandemic. That includes investments in technology and devices and more academic support programs for students.

The district hopes some of that money will come from the federal K-12 Emergency Relief Fund.

Angie Henry, the Chief Financial Officer for Guilford County Schools, says it's still unclear how soon they'll receive the money and exactly how much they'll get.

“There's been some recent mandate from the Department of Education in Washington stating that these dollars are going to have to be split 100 percent with our private schools that request a share of these dollars," says Henry. "So at this point, we aren't sure what portion of the $20 million is going to come to Guilford County Schools.“

The district's budget recommendation now heads to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. A public hearing is expected in June.

The GCS Board of Education also approved a plan to recognize graduating seniors at Tuesday's meeting. High schools will hold a drive-thru event for the Class of 2020. District officials say each student will also get a chance to exit their vehicle, so they can cross a stage to get a photo with the principal or other school leader.

They say the changes will ensure social distancing and gathering size requirements in Gov. Cooper's executive order.

Local police departments are working with the district to help with traffic concerns.

Superintendent Sharon Contreras says she's encouraging local neighborhoods to get involved with signs, decorations, and cheering graduates on from their porches.

The drive-through ceremonies will take place sometime in June. The district says those dates will be announced within the next week.

GCS officials say they still plan to have a traditional graduation ceremony for seniors later this year.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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