Oklahoma is using its CARES Act funds to expand online course access, safeguard private school education options and provide families the flexibility to purchase necessary digital tools.
Highlights from Oklahoma’s Plan
Today, Governor Kevin Stitt released his innovative and student-centered plan for investing the CARES Act funding to allow students from diverse backgrounds to access the quality resources they need in order to continue their education journey amid these uncertain times.
Expand Online Course Access
Learn Anywhere OK will be a central repository for school districts and families to digitally access advanced and diverse coursework. The $12 million investment will immediately provide unlimited access to content in all subjects in grades 6-12 and select K-5 courses. Schools can also purchase digital advanced courses typically unavailable in rural areas. Over the long-term, Learn Anywhere OK will include additional free coursework for all school districts and families focused on Advanced Placement and other difficult-to-staff courses.
Safeguard Private School Education Options for Low-Income Families
The $10 million Stay in School Funds is a supplemental scholarship fund for 1,500 low-income families already in a private school to maintain support for tuition costs and ensure economically hard-hit families can keep their children in school. Protecting private schools from economic downturn benefits all students. If even a portion of students currently enrolled in private schools return their local districts because they can no longer pay tuition or their schools close, the cost to states and localities would be great.
Provide Families the Flexibility to Purchase Necessary Digital Tools and Curriculum
During these uncertain times, students need immediate access to digital tools, learning support and supplemental resources so they do not fall behind on their education. The Digital Wallet program will provide $1,500 directly to 5,000 Oklahoma families at or below the federal poverty line to purchase curriculum content, tutoring services, technology and internet connectivity.
In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help states address the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bulk of the education funds flow directly to K-12 local education agencies and institutions of higher education. However, each state’s governor and education agency have the flexibility to direct funds to prioritized programs and needs within federal guidelines.
Oklahoma’s allocations of these flexible CARES funds include:
- $39,919,354 for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund
- $16,095,047 from the K-12 stabilization fund (10% of the full amount of $160,950,476 earmarked for K-12)