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Michigan schools can access federal COVID-19 funding

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan school districts will soon be allowed to apply for millions of dollars of federal aid tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $13.2 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund is meant to address the impact the COVID-19 public health crisis has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the United States. ESSER funding was included as part of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Districts can apply to use the money to sanitize school facilities and assist low-income children, among other needs.

To receive money, districts neeed to submit an online application that includes a brief narrative of their most important educational needs; information on how they will provide equitable access to students, teachers, parents, and families; and a budget that outlines their intended use of allocated funds.

Michael Rice is Michigan’s state Superintendent for Public Instruction. He says pre- K-through-12 education will need more help.

“It’s not vaguely close to what we need to address the digital divide. It’s not vaguely close to preserve educational services for pre-k-12 children in the midst of a pandemic. Not close,” says Rice.

Rice says public health decisions on COVID-19 will guide whether and how schools will reinstate in-person classes. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.