Hofmeister awards $49 million to school districts that received limited federal aid in pandemic relief

Saturday, 06 March 2021 20:08

Hofmeister awards $49 million to school districts that received limited federal aid in pandemic relief Featured

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OKLAHOMA CITY (March 5, 2021) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has announced the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is allocating $49 million in federal relief dollars to 88 Oklahoma school districts that had received limited funds under Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II.

The funds are part of the set-aside ESSER II dollars that had been allocated to the OSDE.

“These recipients had received the least amount of federal aid but, like all public school districts throughout our state, are struggling with financial burdens exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Hofmeister. “These additional foundational dollars will help strengthen their ability to meet the many challenges posed by COVID-19.”

As required under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, ESSER II allocations were distributed based on Title I funds from fiscal year 2020. Consequently, some school districts with smaller number of high-poverty students received limited relief funding from the $665 million that ESSER II provided to Oklahoma schools.

Without the additional dollars, some districts indicated they would have been forced to cut critical staff such as teachers, nurses and counselors.

“We appreciate State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and the Oklahoma State Department of Education for their steadfast support of Moore Public Schools through this very challenging year,” said Robert Romines, Superintendent of Moore Public Schools.

“The ESSER II funding will significantly fill the budget gap we have been preparing to face in our district. This funding will be instrumental for us to continue providing essential services for our students and staff, which include having mental health and medical health professionals in our schools. We will also utilize this allocation to continue building a virtual learning program that is academically and developmentally rigorous.”

His sentiments were echoed by Owasso Public Schools Superintendent Amy Fichtner.

“We are grateful for the State Department of Education’s diligent efforts to identify and address needs in districts across the state following the distribution of ESSER II funds,” she said. “These funds will allow us to provide continuity of services to our students and maintain our ardent focus on their education.”

OSDE determined that any district that had received less than $550 per student in ESSER II funds was awarded a portion of the $49 million. Allowable uses of the dollars include preventing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19, as well as mitigating learning loss and restoring high-quality learning environments. To see the breakdown of funds provided to the 88 districts, click here.

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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