MDE wants public opinion concerning prioritization of CARES Act funds

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Mississippi Department of Education is looking for public input on how CARES Act funds should be prioritized via an online survey that will be available until June 1.
The CARES Act gives states one-time relief funds to help with the impact of school closures due to the pandemic and to assist with reopening and recovery plans.

Mississippi has been allotted $169.8 million of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, of which $152.8 million must be distributed to school districts. MDE can retain up to 10 percent of the total funds, or $16.9 million, to address emergency needs that arose as a result of COVID-19, according to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund is made up of $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund established through the CARES Act.

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MDE is trying to develop guidance for school districts on how to prioritize use of the funds for summer transition, instructional materials, diagnostic assessments, support to at-risk students and other vulnerable populations, cleaning buildings and infrastructure, school meals and communications and family engagement, according to a press release.

The survey consists of four multiple choice questions and three open ended questions to allow public officials, school staff, district staff, parents or guardians, advocacy groups and community members to offer their input on what the state’s priorities should be in relation to spending the CARES Act funds.

MDE surveys can be found here