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Kansas leaders OK $50 million in federal COVID funds for learning loss grants

Posted Date: 01/10/2022

Kansas leaders OK $50 million in federal COVID funds for learning loss grants

Gov. Laura Kelly and legislative leaders Monday approved using $50 million in federal COVID-19 funds to help low-income students recover from learning loss during the pandemic.

Meeting as the State Finance Council on the first day of the 2022 legislative session, the Kansas leaders – Republicans and Democrats – also approved $100 million in federal COVID relief for economic development and $4 million for schools to expand broadband internet. The funds have been made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

The $50 million in “Education Learning Loss Grants” will provide $1,000 per child to low-income families to purchase education materials, computers, software and tutoring services.
The $100 million for economic development will be used to help the private sector expand facilities, modernize business parks and other infrastructure development.

The $4 million for broadband provides matching funds for school districts to use alongside the FCC’s E-rate program.

The State Finance Council also approved $11.7 million in federal funding for the Kansas Board of Regents to continue addressing opportunity gaps, improve student well-being and other higher education efforts.

The council’s actions followed recommendations last month by the  Strengthening and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) executive committee, which oversees the distribution of ARPA funds.

At that SPARK meeting, business representatives on the panel considered the proposal to use the federal COVID funds not well-vetted.