The full Maryland congressional delegation, including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Andy Harris, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin and David Trone, announced $207,834,058 for Maryland school districts through the U.S. Department of Education Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund (ESSER).
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created this fund to allow school districts to pay for the costs of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including planning and coordination of long-term school closures and purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students. Schools throughout Maryland have been closed since March 16th and will operate through online learning through at least May 15th.
“Providing a high-quality education to all Maryland students is one of the most pressing long-term challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the delegation. “These funds are urgently needed and must make their way to districts throughout Maryland as swiftly as possible. We have all spoken with local superintendents and school boards throughout our state and each of them have highlighted the significant need for this federal funding to provide educational technology and internet access to low-income students.”
Recent reporting indicates that tens of thousands of Maryland public school students – up to 25 percent in some school districts – have not signed on to the internet to do lessons or picked up a packet of papers to complete coursework since schools closed.
State education agencies (SEAs) must allocate 90 percent of these funds to local education agencies (LEAs) in proportion to the amount of FY 2019 funds the LEA received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Up to 10 percent of the SEA’s award may be retained for the state agency to use to address needs related to the pandemic. The CARES Act allocated a nationwide total of $30.75 billion in emergency education funding through its Education Stabilization Fund. The delegation previously announced more than $170 million for Maryland’s institutions of higher education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and more than $45 million for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.
The delegation has previously announced funding for Maryland through the CARES Act including $1.6 million to create temporary disaster relief jobs, $45 million for child care centers, $45 million for the Governor’s emergency education relief fund, $170 million for Maryland’s institutions of higher education, $107 million for airports, $742 million for hospitals and health care providers, $15.6 million for community health centers and $48 million to Maryland local government jurisdictions.