AUSTIN, TX — Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan have announced the release of $11.2 billion in new federal funds for education.
The funds will help schools address "student learning loss and costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to a release by the Governor's Office.
The one-time funds are part of a statewide learning recovery effort that will span over the next three years.
According to the release, two-thirds of the funds are immediately available through grants administered by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The final one-third will be distributed "contingent on approval by the U.S. Department of Education."
Roughly $2.2 billion in federal funding has already been allocated to Texas to help public schools respond to the pandemic.
Under the passage of House Bill 3 in 2019, and during the 2019-2020 school year, state funding for public education increased by more than $5 billion from the year before.
"The State of Texas is ensuring that our public schools have the necessary resources to help Texas students recover from learning loss related to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "Two years ago, the Legislature passed, and I signed historic school finance legislation to ensure education funding was more equitable and that we fund schools in part on their ability to ensure students are ready for higher education or a career. To ensure this pandemic does not become a generational education crisis, we expect, and students deserve, for this funding to be used to remediate the progress lost due to the pandemic. This will ensure that Texas students will be ready to fill the jobs created in and attracted to this state.”
"Throughout the challenges of the pandemic over the last year, I have worked to ensure the state maintains the funding commitment we made to our schools in HB3 in 2019 , including teacher pay raises and the school finance reforms. These additional federal funds now will allow educators to help our students recover from the negative impact of long months out of the classroom. My goal is to ensure that Texas schools — like the rest of our state — come back stronger than ever," said Lt. Governor Patrick.
"These resources will help close the gap for our students who have fallen behind as a result of COVID-19," said Speaker Dade Phelan. "Now more than ever, our state must work in unison to ensure our students remain competitive and have the tools they need to succeed. Texas is committed to our children and our public education system, and these funds and our efforts this session will underscore that commitment."
More funds for Texas public schools will be coming soon, the release went on to say. Texas was allotted more than $5 billion for public education under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act.
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