Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on July 8 that $50 million through the CARES Act for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) Fund is now available for K-12 schools and Higher Education. Approximately $35 million will be made available to the Louisiana Dept. of Education and $15 million to the Board of Regents.
“The GEER Funds will enable Louisiana to begin addressing a huge gap in the delivery of instruction that was exposed when schools had to end on campus instruction earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Edwards. “When I learned these dollars were included in the CARES Act, I sought input from stakeholders (K-12, higher education and legislators) in order to use the funds in the wisest and most impactful way possible. It was quickly apparent that addressing personal education device needs and connectivity were the two critical areas as distance learning is now becoming a necesary component in the education of our students. These dollars will not completely solve the digital divide but they will be a huge step in the right direction. Also, as our students learn to adjust to new learning environments, their well-being will be supported by a social and emotional learning component, which is equally important to their education.”
Under the GEER Fund, the U.S. Department of Education awards grants to governors for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education related entities with emergency assistance as a result of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Distribution of the $50 million:
$15.3 M for Board of Regents
$35 M for K – 12 education
$32.3 M for devices and internet connectivity
$2.7 M for social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum
“I’m thankful to work with Governor Edwards to push these funds directly to local systems,” said Education Superintendent. Cade Brumley. “This will further our efforts to ensure every Louisiana student has the technology they need to be successful.”
Allocation of the $15 million in GEER Funding for Higher Education is as follows:
$10 million for workforce redevelopment to allow the state’s community and technical colleges (LCTCS, LSU-Eunice, and Southern University -Shreveport) to provide students with scholarships to earn short-term credentials that are in high demand in the new economy.
$4.5 million to purchase devices for public postsecondary students across the state,
$500,000 to continue student, faculty, and staff training efforts to ensure a smooth transition from face-to-face instruction to a hybrid model of learning, and
$250,000 to create a statewide dual enrollment portal to support outreach and engagement to high school students
“By targeting GEER Funds for higher education in two priority areas the Governor is accelerating economic recovery in Louisiana,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “Training residents for today’s in-demand jobs is critical and our community colleges are ready to deliver. Supporting the faculty training and student devices needed for postsecondary remote learning at scale sends a message that we recognize that these are required tools for student success. Higher education is grateful for this support and we’re all in when it comes to driving this recovery.”