Middle Cities praises GEER Fund grants for student safety measures
For Immediate Release: August 19, 2020
Lansing, MI – Sorely needed financial assistance for student support services and enhanced internet connectivity to facilitate online learning was announced today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and praised as a “huge shot in the arm” by Middle Cities Education Association (MCEA) President Jamie Cain.
“The Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund (GEER) is a huge shot in the arm for Michigan’s neediest students and the schools that serve the greatest percentage of those who are at-risk,” said Cain, superintendent of the Port Huron Area School District. “These resources are targeted for services essential to students that go beyond personal protective equipment – student mental health assistance, supplementary services to address learning loss and internet connectivity to ensure the greatest number of students possible are able to learn, and do research, online in their homes.”
The GEER program will direct $60 million directly to school districts. It will be targeted toward the districts that were hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To be eligible for this funding, at least 50 percent of a school district’s population must be economically disadvantaged. Districts will receive funding based on how many students they serve that meet one or more of the following criteria: Economically disadvantaged, special education needs, and/or English Language Learners.
“The School Finance Research Collaborative (SFRC) report clearly demonstrated Michigan’s economically disadvantaged students are struggling to meet state and federal standards because their schools receive insufficient resources to meet their unique learning needs,” said MCEA Executive Director Ray Telman. “We congratulate the governor for distributing these resources to the neediest children consistent with that research.
“Governor Whitmer has proposed two budgets to allocate state dollars in this fashion and, despite the obstacles that have impeded progress in this area, is fulfilling her commitment to those students with the Coronavirus relief funds she can allocate at her discretion,” he said.
Allowable uses of the funds include:
Devices, internet access, access to remote services, or other similar purposes.
Student Mental Health: Funding would enhance access to remote and in-person student mental health services.
Addressing Learning Loss: Funding could be used by districts to offer supplementary content and intervention services to mitigate the impacts of learning loss.
Out-of-School-Time Learning: Funds could be used to support out-of-school-time learning. These expenditures would ensure students have safe spaces to participate in remote education.
Remote Learning Materials and Training (digital and non-digital): Funds could address both digital and non-digital content where remote learning continues as an instructional delivery model.
Teacher Training and Curriculum: Funding could be used to provide additional professional development and curriculum modifications that allow districts to effectively facilitate distance learning while expanding their knowledge of the science of teaching.
Other needs identified, required, or recommended in the MI Return to School Roadmap.
The Middle Cities Education Association (MCEA) is a consortium of urban school districts which was formed out of a shared commitment to improving educational opportunities for the urban learner. The unique mission and emphasis of Middle Cities is to serve as an advocate for member districts to ensure quality educational programs for all students.