Luther, July 1, 2020—The Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Governor’s Office announced that 150 school districts would receive $16 million in grants “to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning and ensure students are able to access learning opportunities in the new school year.”
Luther Public Schools is on the list with a $100,000 grant. But Luther had already been awarded some relief funding for a total of $236,000. Supt. Barry Gunn said LPS was selected for a $136,000 grant prior to this round. “It’s very good news for a please change,” he said. The funds will go toward technology, devices and connectivity as the district moves toward offering a virtual choice for students in the fall. The funds also will help with preparation for the possibility of more learning at home, depending on the virus’ spread when the 2020-21 school year begins.
The competitive grants consisted of $8 million from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) set-aside in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and $8 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. Both ESSER and GEER are components of the federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under the CARES Act, the OSDE funds must meet “emergency needs” of districts in response to COVID-19, while GEER dollars expended to schools must be to those “most significantly impacted by coronavirus.”
Districts will spend Incentive Grant funds in five priority areas in which students were impacted by COVID-19 – expanding connectivity for students, purchasing a content management system (CMS) or learning management system (LMS), providing mental health supports for students, compensatory services to at-risk students and training in the science of reading for teachers of pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
A total of 360 districts applied for the Incentive Grants.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of digital transformation and the need for our students to have access to quality technology in order to enhance learning opportunities,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt. “I appreciate the commitment of Supt. Hofmeister, OSDE and our local school districts as we continue to ensure these dollars are maximized to the benefit of our students and educators across the state.”
The grant award was discussed at the Monday meeting of the Luther School Board. The Luther Register provided live updates on FB during the meeting, and the post is included here.