Texas is giving schools a $200 million boost to support remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, Vice Chair Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, and House Appropriations Committee Chair Giovanni Capriglione and Vice Chair Oscar Longoria on July 17 announced that the state will allocate $200 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the Texas Education Agency for the purchase of eLearning devices and home internet solutions for Texas students that lack connectivity.
TEA will purchase and distribute devices, hotspots, routers and more based on specific needs identified by school districts. The funding would be used to establish a reimbursement program with a matching fund component tied to locally controlled Coronavirus Relief Funds or district funding, according to a news release from Gov. Abbott's office. This funding is in addition to a previously announced distribution of up to $400 million to reimburse districts for COVID-19 expenses incurred during the 2019-20 school year.
"As school districts delay the start of in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year due to COVID-19, it is essential that we work to provide Texas students with the devices they need to connect and communicate online for classroom instruction," Abbott said. "As we continue to combat COVID-19 in Texas, we are committed to providing reliable and effective solutions that will help students academically succeed while protecting public health."
Later in the day, TEA released new guidance on reopening schools that gives districts more flexibility for remote-only instruction to start the 2020-21 school year. Read more