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Gov. Whitmer announces $65M in CARES Act funding for schools

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Posted at 2:22 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 14:36:27-04

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today that she is allocating nearly $65 million in federal funds to school districts, higher education institutions and other education-related entities that have been "most significantly impacted" by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds are from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and under the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund (GEER).

The funding includes support for schools in Michigan’s "economically disadvantaged districts" and will help address "the digital divide that has served as a barrier to remote learning for students and educators across the state," according to the governor's office today.

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and approach the start of the new school year, we must continue doing everything we can to protect our students, educators and support staff," Gov. Whitmer said.

"This funding will help us do just that and ensure crucial support for our schools, whether it’s helping schools access PPE and cleaning supplies or helping students mitigate the impacts of learning loss in districts that need it most. This is a good start, but we still need the federal government to work together on a bipartisan recovery package to support all Michigan students and educators, as well as state governments, families and small businesses.”

GEER funds are intended for districts that are determined to be "most significantly impacted by COVID-19."

The framework will distribute $60 million to school districts based on the number of students in" high-need" groups.

The governor's office said districts will receive funding based on "their numbers of economically disadvantaged students, special education students and English-language learners."

To be eligible for funding, the school district’s concentration of economically disadvantaged pupils, compared to total district enrollment, must exceed 50%.

Recipient districts will also be required to use GEER funds for any of the following goals:

Connectivity: Devices, internet access, access to remote services or other similar purposes.

Student Mental Health: Funding would enhance access to remote and in-person student mental health services.

Addressing Learning Loss: Funding could be used by districts to offer supplementary content and intervention services to mitigate the impacts of learning loss.

Out-of-School-Time Learning: Funds could be used to support out-of-school-time learning. These expenditures would ensure students have safe spaces to participate in remote education.

Remote Learning Materials and Training (digital and non-digital): Funds could address both digital and non-digital content where remote learning continues as an instructional delivery model.

Teacher Training and Curriculum: Funding could be used to provide additional professional development and curriculum modifications that allow districts to effectively facilitate distance learning, while expanding their knowledge of the science of teaching.

Other health, safety and wellness needs identified, required or recommended in the MI Return to School Roadmap.