Public Safety payroll and new learning hubs for children of specific essential workers in the county were given first priority for federal COVID-19 relief funding by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors in an Aug. 18 meeting.

The county will receive $4.59 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act between now and December.

An uncertain amount of monies will likely be allocated to public safety payroll to offset COVID-19-related General Fund expenses.

Public safety payroll expenditures through December 30 will likely be higher than $4.6 million, Deputy County Administrative Officer Christa Von Latta told supervisors.

Another $200,000 was approved to support the Calaveras County Office of Education (CCOE) in funding childcare and learning hubs for children of essential workers. That specifically includes employees of the county, hospital/healthcare industry and school districts.

The hubs, which officials are aiming to open after Labor Day (Sept. 7), would function as places for essential workers to drop off their kids grades kindergarten through eighth to participate in distance learning, according to Health and Human Services Director Kristen Stranger, who has been working with CCOE on the project.

CCOE looked at existing infrastructure, created a community survey for parents employed by the aforementioned entities, and identified three locations for the hubs across San Andreas, Valley Springs and along the Highway 4 corridor, potentially in the Angels Camp area, Stranger said. They could serve over 100 youth, she said.

The funding request will accommodate extra hires for CCOE to “orchestrate distance learning” with children in the hubs through the end of 2020, Stranger told supervisors.

She added that CCOE is looking for other funding sources as well.

Up to 12% of county staff have been on leave since March 19 due to COVID-19-related issues, according to the CAO’s 90-day report.

District 5 Supervisor Benjamin Stopper said he was supportive of the request, but that it needs to be done carefully. He referenced some county employees having to take administrative leave due to their kids catching COVID-19 or being exposed to someone who has it.

District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi made the motion to include funding for the request, citing the need to support county employees who are parents during challenging times.

“This is important,” Garamendi said. “We’re asking our employees to do extraordinary amounts of work ... They have to show up and they’re having a really hard time. If we’re going to ask people to do extraordinary things, we have to meet them halfway. I would support this.”

The board voted unanimously in favor of the proposal. The remaining CARES funding will be in contingencies that supervisors can determine allocations for after passing the final budget Sept. 22.

An Aug. 26 correction was made to indicate that other than the $200,000 allocated to learning and childcare hubs, how the remainder of the CARES funding is spent will be up to the board in final budget hearings and potentially after passage of the final budget, so long as it meets funding requirements from the state.

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Reporter

Davis graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies. He covers environmental issues, agriculture, fire and local government. Davis spends his free time playing guitar and hiking with his dog, Penny.

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