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Gov. Evers announces more than $80 million to schools for COVID-19 help

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday announced more than $80 million in financial assistance to Wisconsin’s K-12 schools and higher education institutions, including more than $46 million to K-12 schools and $37 million to higher education partners to assist with the challenges faced relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our educators, faculty members, staff, and students have risen to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting with very little warning, and planning for a new normal,” said Gov. Evers. “I’ve always said what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state, so I am hopeful this funding can help alleviate expenses already incurred and further creative efforts to transition between in-person learning and distance learning seamlessly as we prepare for the upcoming fall semester and continue to fight COVID-19 in Wisconsin.”

The $46.6 million for K-12 schools will come from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and will prioritize students and districts that have the highest remote learning needs and have been the most significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $37 million for higher education institutions will be distributed out of funding provided directly to Wisconsin under the CARES Act and can be used to reimburse necessary, unbudgeted expenditures made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor’s $80 million allocation toward K-12 schools and higher education institutions is in addition to the more than $354 million K-12 schools and higher education institutions already received directly through the CARES Act.

In collaboration with the Governor’s Office, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will be providing additional information about the funding process for K-12 schools. Wisconsin tribal colleges will receive $2 million in funding, with the remaining funding going to UW, technical college, and private, non-profit campuses in the state.

The higher education distribution is based on the formula that the CARES Act used in providing direct aid to these institutions, largely based on the number of full-time equivalent Pell Grant recipients who were not enrolled exclusively in distance education prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.