Faculties within the Houston space profit from the governor’s launch of COVID-19 funds – Houston Public Media

In this August 5, 2020 file photo wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, elementary school students use hand sanitizer before entering school for classes in Godley, Texas.

Local school districts commend the governor for releasing $ 11.2 billion in COVID aid funds.

Money comes on time for many districts.

Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan announced the release of the funds last week. Abbott had planned to divert funds away from schools, but canceled the influence just as school districts build budgets for the next school year.

The Houston Independent School District issued a statement thanking the three heads of state.

“This gives the district administrators and the HISD Board of Trustees the ability to set up a solid budget for the coming school year that takes our priorities into account,” the statement said.

The funds are intended to help schools recover from the pandemic over the next three years. Two-thirds of the funds will be made available immediately through grants from the Texas Education Agency. The final part will be distributed upon approval by the Department of Education. Funding is formally part of the third round of emergency aid for primary and secondary schools (ESSER III).

According to the district, the HISD is expected to receive more than $ 800 million.

Fort Bend ISD also praised the release of funds, saying the move was particularly timely as the district had to finalize its budget for the next academic year by June.

“Funding would help FBISD finalize plans for student intervention programs to address areas of need such as academic slide COVID-19 and reimbursement of COVID-19 costs incurred – including personal protective equipment, technology related to online learning, contact tracking and reimbursement Wellness monitors, “said the district.

Fort Bend ISD estimates it would receive more than $ 63 million, which is roughly two-thirds of the funds due.

“The ESSER III funds would be used to pay $ 15.1 million to FBISD strategic priorities related to COVID-19, adding to the potential three cents tax rate increase for disasters previously approved by the Board of Trustees ) was discussed, makes it unnecessary, “says the statement.

While local school districts are positive about releasing funds, Democratic members of the Texas congressional delegation say the Abbott government will only give up the funds after outside pressure has been forced to do so.

“While I think this is cause for celebration, it’s late,” said Congressman Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. “That should have happened four months ago. I think the governor has given in to the reality that he couldn’t get away with taking all of these funds for non-educational purposes when we clearly intended them for educational purposes. “

Doggett also accused the governor of continuing to withhold some of the funds Congress allocated to schools in Texas.

“Governor Abbott is still trying to keep $ 5.5 billion,” he said. “It’s really not a compromise. All of the money was for our schools, not for his piggy bank.”

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