Governor Whitmer announced today that she is allocating $65 million in CARES Act funding to support K-12 schools. The funding is from the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund (GEER). The majority of this funding ($60 million) will go directly to school districts on a formula basis, so no application is necessary. To be eligible for this funding, at least 50% of a school district’s population must be economically disadvantaged. The money will be distributed based on how many students the district serves that meet one or more of the following criteria: economically disadvantaged, special education needs, and/or English Language Learners.
To calculate approximately how much money your district will receive from this allocation, first determine whether at least 50% of the students in your district are economically disadvantaged. Economically disadvantaged means a pupil who has been determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals; who is in a household receiving supplemental nutrition assistance program or temporary assistance for needy families assistance; or who is homeless, migrant or in foster care. If your district qualifies for funding, you can approximate your allocation as follows: add together the number of economically disadvantaged pupils, special education pupils, and English language learners in your district (Note: this formula compounds, so a pupil who falls into multiple categories CAN be counted MORE THAN ONCE). Multiply that number by $87.
There are some limits on what the funds can be used for, but the categories of allowable uses are broad enough that districts shouldn't struggle:
- 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.
An additional $5.4M will be distributed to entities to support statewide tools/resources for schools.
- $1.5 million for statewide mental health and social-emotional learning supports.
- $1.4 million for the implementation of teacher professional learning practices and standards to train teachers on digital communication tools and online instructional strategies.
- $1.5 million to support educational programming on public television.
- $1.0 million to support Early On. This funding should allow the existing program to reach more infants and toddlers through remote early intervention.
The Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) totals approximately $89 million, so today's allocation leaves roughly $24 million unspent. It is unclear how or when the remaining funds will be allocated.