DeVos releases education funding to governors

U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced this week the release of $3 billion in emergency education block grants to governors to support continued learning during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Governors’ Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) will allow Kansas Governor Laura Kelly to distribute just over $26 million to public and private K-12 schools; postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations. The fund is one part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act enacted last month. 

In a press release, DeVos said the GEER funds will be “extraordinarily flexible” and will be made available within three days after a state submits its application for funds. 

“Governors have the opportunity to truly rethink and transform the approach to education during this national emergency and ensure learning continues,” the news release stated. “At a time when so many school boards and superintendents have shut down learning for the balance of the school year, I want to encourage each and every governor to focus on continuity of education for all students. Parents, families, teachers and other local education leaders are depending on their leadership to ensure students don’t fall behind.” 

Kelly’s office has not yet announced how the GEER funds will be distributed. The GEER funding is separate from the state’s share of the $13.5 billion in nationwide funding for elementary and secondary education under the federal CARES Act. The CARES Act directs the money to be spent to support school districts that have been most significantly impacted by the pandemic. 

Kansas will receive about $84 million of the $13.5 billion, according to Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis. Of that, $74 million will be distributed according to the Title 1 formula and $10 million will be directed to special education. 

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