$13.2 billion in emergency relief funds available for education

If you’re an educator, you know it’s graduation time and that summer break is finally here. But even as students graduate and everyone gets ready to enjoy their summer, there’s a looming question: what about the 2020-2021 school year?

Many governors, state legislators, school district officials, teachers, and parents are worried that state and local funding for education will be cut due to coronavirus (COVID-19). NPR provided details that as education receives more than half its funding from state budgets, but declining income and sales tax revenues means that some states will have a budget gap that may eclipse that felt from the Great Recession. Colorado alone is looking at 3 billion dollars in total budget decline.

Many schools and school districts are still unsure what the school year brings next year, especially with the potential for a spike in new coronavirus cases this fall. So far, schools are looking at a wide range of options, including opening for in-person learning, opening early (before fall), moving completely to online learning, and even canceling classes.

But it’s not time to panic yet.

Recently, Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education) announced in a press release that at least $13.2 billion is now available to education agencies supporting students K-12. In the press release, the Department of Education indicated, “Education leaders will have the flexibility to use funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) for immediate needs, such as tools and resources for distance education, ensuring student health and safety, and developing and implementing plans for the next school year.”

From the same press release, the Department hopes to streamline the process and cut red tape that could delay funding. State education agencies “(SEAs) have until July 1, 2020, to apply for ESSER funds by submitting a simple signed Certification and Agreement form to [email protected]. The Department intends to process each submitted form within three business days of receipt.”

Get more details and learn how to apply.

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