Kemp directs up to $37M in federal cash for learning aid

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ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday designated up to $37.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to private groups and public agencies to help students catch up on learning they missed during the pandemic.

Kemp directed $12 million to Boys & Girls Clubs statewide for tutoring and academic enrichment, on top of $15 million he directed to the groups earlier.

The governor is also sending $2 million to the Georgia Alliance of YWCAs. The groups will distributed materials to 11,000 students and offer programs including an electronic sports program that aims to help students catch up academically.

The state Department of Education is getting $9.1 million. Of that, $6.5 million will pay for more materials for special education students; and $1.7 million will pay to launch mass hearing and vision screenings in parts of northeast and southeast Georgia and to improve diagnosis of hearing loss among young children. Finally, $900,000 will help to buy equipment and supplies at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Georgia School for the Deaf, and Georgia Academy for the Blind.

The state Department of Early Care and Learning will get up to $12 million to finance summer transition programs in summer 2023 for children who will be entering 4-year-old prekindergarten and kindergarten the next fall.

The Georgia Public Library Service is getting $2.3 million to distribute in grants to individual libraries for connectivity and remote-learning devices.

The money comes from federal COVID-19 aid that is intended for schools. Georgia received two rounds of funding for public schools totaling $173 million that has already been spent, plus $79 million in money for emergency aid to private schools.

Because of federal requirements for spending the money, Georgia has $59.7 million left over in the nonpublic school account that Kemp is now spending in other ways. Kemp, a Republican who is running for reelection this fall, earlier announced $125 stipends from the same pot of money to help teachers and other school employees buy supplies.

Democrats have attacked Kemp for touting his spending of federal money when he has opposed some of the pandemic-relief spending bills that Congress has passed.

Categories: Education, Featured, Georgia News