$19 Billion in Federal Stimulus Money for School Districts in Texas Now Available

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the state will release federal stimulus money, designated to help schools deal with learning loss and to recoup costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Texas superintendents have been complaining about the money being held up in Austin.

Texas received $19 billion from the feds. Two-thirds of that is available immediately under grants administered by the Texas Education Agency. The final third will be distributed contingent upon approval by the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Robin Ryan, Superintendent of the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD says the announcement gives him relief.

"It's very important to the district," said Ryan. "Teachers, students, families, are going to be the benefactors of this money." 

Not even 24 hours ago, Ryan, and other school district leaders were pleading with Governor Abbott and state leaders for nearly $20 billion in federal money sent to Texas for schools, but it was just sitting in Austin.

"It shouldn't have been this hard. 40 states got their notification months ago but we're glad, we're glad," said Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas ISD.

Dallas ISD stands to gain $500 million alone.

"25% of this money has to be on learning loss but I project over half of it will be on learning loss, how we get caught up, redesign summer school," said Hinojosa.

It will also help pay for cell towers to connect students in Dallas to the internet permanently. 

Coppell ISD expects about $2 million, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, $17 million.  

Richardson doesn't have a total amount yet, but they know what they need the money for... learning and social-emotional loss. 

"We would not have been able to attack it aggressively like we need to. That money was needed before now, but we're glad we have the certainty it's coming," said Dr. Jeannie Stone, Superintendent of Richardson ISD.

The schools will get two-thirds of the cash now. The rest will come later. Each district will find its own use. A mix of paying past bills and helping students dig out of their learning losses.  

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