Below is a summary of the Governor-Mayors call today.
- K-12 guidance doc being review at public health and should be out sometime early next week. The goal is for schools to open and not for guidance to be so rigid it can’t be managed and it ends up failing.
- Relative to schools reopening, an issue was raised about First Student (bus company) stating that it will allow no more than 11 students on each bus, meaning more buses would be required than are even available. The governor was not aware of this and said that this student limit is not coming from the state. Once the guidance document for school reopening comes out, if there are still issues like that, Governor will reach out to them if there are still issues.
- It is the responsibility of the school districts to acquire PPE. They can use the additional school funding from the federal government. State can help facilitate getting equipment.
- A question was raised about whether the state might consider making the municipal aid disbursement ($20 million) earlier than October 1. Statute requires the disbursement be made by October 1, but there is no prohibition on disbursing earlier. Governor will look into that possibility and talk to DRA.
- A question was raised about getting “yes or no” answers from GOFERR about allowable expenses. For example, Nashua is looking into building a new air circulation system in the library to reduce risk of CV-19 spreading. It’s a fairly sizable project that is not budgeted for and one they will not do if they don’t have GOFERR funds. The Governor understands the needs to certainty and will talk to them; also said it sounds like Nashua’s project should be approved since it was not budgeted for and is directly related to CV-19. Governor was also asked about the deadline of August 31: Does each project need to be completed by that date, or does it just have to be under contract? The Governor believes that as long as the funds are encumbered by August 31, that’s sufficient. But he will talk to GOFERR. [Note: We received a similar question from a town this morning about whether items on backorder could be reimbursable once they are ordered, even if they have not yet been received or actually paid for. We reached out to GOFERR this morning and asked. I hope to be able to share answers to both of these questions with all of you.]