Wilco votes to give CARES Act funds to Round Rock, Leander ISDs

The Williamson County Commissioners Court has voted to give Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD a piece of the county’s federal CARES Act funding.

Round Rock ISD will receive about $5 million, while Leander ISD will receive about $3.7 million.

Before the vote, County Judge Bill Gravell wanted to clear the air on their previous commissioners meeting which sparked concerns within the county. 

"We did not withhold any funds from any district, we delayed the vote on two school districts," Gravell said. "Secondly, in 2020, Williamson County granted over $8 million in CARES fund to schools in our county and I note Travis County did not grant any CARES funds to any schools in this county including the two school districts we are talking about today."

Judge Gravell went on to state not every county government in the state used their CARES act funds for school districts. "I would challenge anyone to prove to me, show any county in Texas that use their CARES Act funds for their local schools," he said.

Round Rock ISD released this statement following the vote:

"We are very glad that Williamson County Commissioners approved the additional CARES Act funding that will directly benefit Round Rock ISD students. This funding is specifically designated to help school districts navigate the added expenses brought on by the pandemic and is a much-needed and much-appreciated resource as we continue to navigate through these challenging times."

Leander ISD released this statement:

"We appreciate the opportunity for continued dialogue with Williamson County officials regarding federal CARES funding for our students and classrooms. 

"The $3.7 million for Leander ISD would allow our district to reallocate and have additional resources to support student learning as we continue to navigate the pandemic. The federal legislation was intended to support communities during the global health crisis, which is how we would use the funding for the benefit of children.  

"We have spent 16 months working with our community and Board to refine a process and policy for reviewing instructional materials. The last 16 months have taught us that decisions regarding instructional resources and children are not uniform for all families. This is why we have rallied around the choice and voice of our community and families. We will continue to do so, aligning with the vision, local control, and governance of our independently elected Board of Trustees. 

"The district is closed until January 3, 2022. We will look for the messaging from the court and consider our options at that time."

The reason the county chose to delay the vote on the two school districts last week was their concerns with "inappropriate" books in the school systems. 

This money does have some stipulations with it. Round Rock ISD must continue to follow the district’s book removal process and Leander ISD must conduct a review of the books in question and make their findings public by April.

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