Wolf Announces Grant Funds for Schools

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Warren County schools are set to receive more than $40,000 in grant funds to provide services for students with disabilities, Governor Tom Wolf announced Thursday, Aug. 20.

(Photo: PA Governor Tom Wolf. Photo is courtesy of the Office of Governor Tom Wolf. Image originally created on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Flickr page)

Wolf is dedicating nearly $20 million to education agencies to help with mitigation efforts and provide education services for students with disabilities who may have been impacted by COVID-19. Approximately $15 million of those funds will come from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and another $5 million in federal funding from the Department of Education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The Warren County School District is set to receive $40,794.46 while another $1,000 is earmarked for Tidioute Community Charter School.

“While COVID-19 impacted all students this year, it was particularly hard on our children with special needs, who often require additional support and services to assist their learning,” Wolf said in a press release. “This funding will help schools as they put structures in place to help these students while we work to mitigate the spread of this pandemic.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of GEER Funds.

The Special Education COVID-19 Impact Mitigation Grant will provide $15 million in financial support ($10M GEER; $5M IDEA) to local education agencies to:

  • Provide enhanced synchronous (real-time) instruction to bolster remote services and supports for students with complex needs; and
  • Provide services and supports to students with disabilities who experienced a loss in skills and behavior and/or a lack of progress due to the mandatory school closures

An additional $5 million in GEER grant funding will be available to Preschool Early Intervention programs to provide compensatory educational services.

“While LEAs transition to implementing reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year, they continue to face challenges in delivering free appropriate public education (FAPE) and providing services to students with disabilities,” Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera said in the release. “This critical funding will help schools as they work with their students with special needs to rebuild skills and behaviors that were diminished during the COVID-19 shutdown.”

The amount set for WCSD was approximately twice the amount given to nearby districts throughout the region. Corry was set for $17,064.64, with Titusville getting a little less at $14,198.89. Bradford, at $21,068.60, was the closest regional rural district in terms of funding amount to the WCSD.

Grant amounts were calculated using an allocation formula based on the number of students with complex special education needs within each LEA. Distribution of funds to Preschool early intervention programs will be made based on identified needs.

The full list of recipients can be found here.