Local school districts are set to receive millions in the latest round of federal stimulus relief, but they won’t be getting all their money at once.
This past week, districts could begin applying to receive their share of the available $11.2 billion in stimulus money, according to the Texas Education Agency.
All Gregg County public schools, the UT Tyler University Academy and Hallsville ISD are set to receive funds.
Only two-thirds of a total $18 billion in federal stimulus funding has been released to the TEA, so the allocations to local districts are not the full amounts.
The government will release the remaining funding later in the spring after the state completes an application.
The Texas Tribune reported that state officials previously argued the reason they hadn’t allocated the one-time funding to the schools was because they were awaiting federal government guidance about whether the state would need to increase funding for higher education to make the K-12 funding available.
Later, the federal government clarified the state must maintain higher education and public education funding at the same proportion to the budget as it was in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to tap into those dollars. Effectively, that means Texas would have to increase higher education spending by $1.2 billion to unlock the K-12 stimulus dollars, according to the Tribune.
Longview-area allocations are:
Longview ISD: $19.66 million;
Pine Tree ISD: $9.2 million;
Spring Hill ISD: $2.43 million;
White Oak ISD: $2.26 million;
Gladewater ISD: $4.22 million;
Sabine ISD: $1.44 million;
Kilgore ISD: $6.75 million;
Hallsville ISD: $9.19 million; and
UT Tyler University Academy: $601,164.
Spring Hill ISD interim Superintendent Penny Fleet said the district is not sure what the money will be used for because the district still is in the beginning stages of working through the grant application.
“We’ll definitely be looking at instruction,” she said. “Part of the stipulation is a certain amount is reserved for instruction. That could be additional curriculum materials, technology components, paying teachers and materials for summer school, accelerated instruction during the school day, tutorials, different things like that.”
White Oak ISD Superintendent Brian Gray said districts are doing training to learn about how to obtain and spend the funds. Districts have until September 2024 to spend the money.
“We’ve got multiple years to utilize these funds, but we want to look at where they will best benefit our kiddos,” Gray said. “Over the summer, White Oak will continue to build our budget for the upcoming academic year. We want to get the best bang for our buck and spend smart money where we need it.”