AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two state agencies will work to distribute $420 million through a newly-created program aimed at reimbursing some costs that Texas public school districts incurred to conduct remote learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a news release sent out Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the millions come from federal CARES Act funding, and they will help pay back districts that locally purchased more Wi-Fi hotspots and eLearning devices, like laptops, tablets and Chromebooks. The Texas Education Agency and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will oversee distribution of the funding from this program.
“This reimbursement program will significantly ease the financial burden on Texas public schools that have purchased these crucial eLearning devices and also helps ensure that more students have access to these devices as needed,” Gov. Abbott wrote in a statement.
According to the governor, TDEM already reimbursed school systems that bought technology as a response to the pandemic, and the TEA purchased and directly gave out about 1 million eLearning devices and WiFi hotspots to schools this summer.
The announcement stated that school systems can start applying for reimbursement funds on Friday. The TEA will hold a webinar that day through Zoom and share details about the application process.
The governor also reported that Texas allocated more than $780 million in CARES Act funding for public education to help local education agencies purchase connectivity devices and reimburse them for COVID-19 expenses.