While Newtown is not feeling any major impacts from the federal government shutdown that went into effect on Tuesday, October 1, school district Business Director Ron Bienkowski described one small effect it has had on the district.
When Board of Education member William Hart asked Mr Bienkowski, during the school board’s Tuesday, October 1, meeting, whether the government shutdown will affect any of Newtown’s awarded grants, Mr Bienkowski said the representative working with the district to oversee the US Department of Education’s School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant is not in the office anymore.
“And he has indicated he doesn’t know when he will be returning to work,” said Mr Bienkowski.
As Mr Hart pointed out, a number of people are working in the school district as a result of the SERV grant.
Acting Supervisor of Special Education Robin Pavia and Acting Assistant Principal for Sandy Hook Elementary School Brian Kirmil are two people working the district in positions funded by the SERV grant.
Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed said the US Department of Education understands Newtown has hired people with the SERV grant, which he noted has been funded monthly for six months.
“To me it is inconceivable that we would not receive funding,” said Dr Reed.
Mr Hart said the people working in the district through the SERV grant are considered employees of the district, so they will continue to be paid during the government shutdown.
“So hopefully the district will be paid in whole at the end,” said Mr Hart, “but these individuals aren’t going to be taken advantage of.”
Dr Reed said the district is proceeding with the belief that the money for the SERV grant will continue to be supplied to the district.