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Kentucky wants ideas on how spend billions in COVID money for schools

Kentucky education officials want public input on how it should use more than $2 billion in federal funding geared for helping to safely reopen public schools across the state.

Through Friday afternoon, the Kentucky Department of Education will accept answers to an eight-question survey posted on its website. In a statement, the department said it wants feedback from students, families, teachers, principals and school and district administrators. KDE also wants representatives from special education providers, children with disabilities, children enduring homelessness and other underserved populations.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which included $122 billion to aid school districts as they transition back to in-person education and help deal with the toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on students.

“KDE believes that seeking input from diverse stakeholders is essential in developing plans for the money,” the department’s statement read. “The goal is to create a plan that is responsive to the needs of students, families and educators.”

According to a U.S. Department of Education fact sheet, states must dole out at least 90% of its allocation to local education agencies. Those allocations will be based on their portion of funding received during the 2020 fiscal year under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

The local school boards will be the agencies responsible for expending those funds. Districts can use the funds for several purposes, such as buying cleaning supplies, improving air quality and planning for long-term closures. Funds can be used to cover costs that were incurred as of March 13, 2020, when the federal government declared the COVID emergency.

The state must also use 5% of the money to implement programs designed to help students who suffered learning losses. That includes funding summer programs as well as extended day and school year initiatives.

Toni Koz Tatman, KDE’s chief communications officer, told The Center Square that nearly $1.4 billion has already been made available to the state, and the remaining $695 million will be available after the state submits a required application next month.

The survey, which closes at 5 pm Friday, can be accessed here.

This article was originally posted on Kentucky wants ideas on how spend billions in COVID money for schools

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