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K-12 Schools to receive $170 million in CARES Act funding

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey recently announced that $170 million in federal CARES Act funding will be allocated to the state’s K-12 schools for a combination of health care and digital devices.

$100 million of the funding will go towards purchasing digital devices to promote and enable remote learning and $70 million will be in the form of the Education Health and Wellness Grant Program.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, funds available through the Education Health and Wellness Grant Program can be used for the following purposes by “local education agencies”:

  • Fund salaries or wages for health care professionals or aides to provide COVID-19 response or care,
  • to contract for specimen collection and testing of COVID-19,
  • temporary facility improvements and supplies for nurses’ work areas for COVID-19 response,
  • the creation of isolation areas for symptomatic students,
  • screening equipment to check body temperature,
  • and modification of school transportation vehicles to mitigate or isolate the spread of COVID-19.

The funds allocated for digital devices are also subject to certain criteria. According to the Governor’s office, “each local education agency applying for reimbursement under the Education Remote Learning Devices Grant Program, prior to expending funds, must provide:”

  • a remote learning plan compatible with the devices to be purchased,
  • information to ensure teachers and instructors are proficient with the operations of the device including technical support,
  • a plan developed by each school to ensure each student has access or availability to the internet, and a plan for maintenance of the devices, including software updates, physical repairs, and replacement of lost and damaged devices.

Education agencies will receive funds “based on a formula that accounts for student enrollment, poverty levels, special education students, English learner students, student proficiency levels and the impact of COVID-19.” All education agencies will receive at least $70,000 from the Education Health and Wellness Grant Program “in additional to the amount determined by the formula.”

Furthermore, agencies will receive at least $100,000 from the Education Remote Learning Devices Grant Program “in additional to the amount determined by the formula.”

Local counties will receive the following amounts via the Education Health and Wellness Grant Program:

  • Butler County: $335,372
  • Crenshaw County: $261,429
  • Lowndes County: $200,016

From the Remote Learning Devices Grant Program, local counties will receive:

  • Butler County: $479,103
  • Crenshaw County: $373,469
  • Lowndes County: 285,738