Monday numbers: A closer look at $39 million in CARES Act funds for public schools

Nearly $39 million in federal coronavirus relief money has been released by the State Board of Education, most of which will go to support exceptional children’s programs and to purchase online curricula to support blended learning —  a combination of in-person and virtual instruction.

The funds are part of $390 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act) that the state’s K-12 schools received to mitigate the financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Schools received 90% of the money directly; until last week, 10%, or $39 million had been held in reserve by the State Board of Education. 

Here’s how the $39 million in CARES funds will be spent: 

$75,000 –  to the Friday Institute to provide online teacher development about blended learning

$250,000 – for a pilot program to explore expanding internet connectivity in remote areas of the state

$4.5 million to low-performing, low-wealth school districts to help students academically succeed during the pandemic

$720,000 –for oversight of sub-grantee applications and budget review, technical assistance and monitoring to ensure spending complies with federal guidelines

$2.2 million to “ineligible, waived and underfunded charter schools” to ensure all public schools have access to CARES Act funds

$4.5 million –  to public schools to partner with community organizations to provide supervised care for students in pre-K through 8th grade who are without at-home supervision on remote learning days  

$10 million – for instructional support for students in exceptional children’s programs

$10.8 million – to school districts to access quality K-12 curricula for high-quality blended learning. 

$200,000 – for an external evaluation of the implementation and impact of NC CARES Act Funding. NC Department of Public Instruction will contract with the Friday Institute or UNC Greensboro SERVE Center   to conduct the evaluation. 

$1 million – for expanded partnerships with broadcast media to provide educational content to students at home. The money will also be used to continue educational programming developed by NC Department of Public Instruction and UNC-TV. 

$3.5 million – to school districts to buy Canvas software licenses. Canvas is a course management system that supports online learning and teaching.   

$322,941 —for professional development for K-12 leaders 

$325,000 – for professional development for K-12 teachers. 

$100,000 – to the NC Department of Public Instruction to contract with regional/state teachers of the year, as well as teacher representatives for English language learners and exceptional children to record video lessons for use by other schools/teachers and for possible inclusion into digital curricula

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