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January 15, 2021 –Georgia public schools will receive more than $1.7 billion – $1,702,883,356 – in federal stimulus funds under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (referred to as CARES 2). The State Board of Education yesterday approved State School Superintendent Richard Woods' recommendation to begin allocating the funds to districts.
The CARES 2 funds are flexible and designed to help school districts offset expenditures related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They can be used to support at-risk student populations, distance/remote learning, school meals, mental and physical health, supplemental learning and addressing learning loss, facilities and equipment, continuity of core staff and services, and more.
“We have been committed throughout the pandemic to allocating federal relief funds to districts as quickly and seamlessly as possible," Superintendent Woods said. “School districts will soon have access to CARES 2 funds to support their continued response to the pandemic and efforts to identify and remediate learning loss, address students' mental and physical health needs, and ensure the safety of students, teachers, staff, and families."
The $1.7 billion Georgia school districts were allocated under CARES 2 is nearly four times the $411 million in funding they received through the initial CARES Act. Unlike the initial CARES Act funding, these funds do not have an equitable services provision requiring districts to make funding available to private/independent schools within their geographic area. Instead, Congress provided a separate allocation for private/independent schools.
The funds are allocated based on a district's proportionate share of Title I funding – for example, if a school district received 2% of Georgia's overall share of Title I funding in Fiscal Year 2021, they will receive 2% of the CARES 2 allocation. This funding formula is required by federal law and the Georgia Department of Education does not have the authority to use a different funding method.