Arizona is using its CARES Act funds to fuel innovative solutions, provide extra supports in high-need schools and improve distance learning options.
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 governor and state education agency has the flexibility to direct funds to prioritized programs and needs within federal guidelines.
Arizona’s allocations of these flexible CARES funds include:
- $69,196,325 for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund
- $27,742,294 from the K-12 stabilization fund (10% of the full amount of $277,422,944 earmarked for K-12)
Highlights from Arizona’s Plan
Yesterday, Governor Doug Ducey released his AZCares plan for leveraging the CARES Act funding, as well as an additional $200 million from Arizona’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.
In addition to $40 million to expand broadband in rural communities through infrastructure investments to bridge the digital divide, the AZCares: Flexibility And Funding For Schools And Families plan provides a roadmap for ensuring Arizona students receive a quality education, including:
Fuel Effective Creative Solutions to Serve All Students
Governor Ducey is one of the first governors so far to leverage GEER funding for innovation grants. His $1 million investment in A for Arizona’s Expansion and Innovation Fund will provide microgrants to proven innovative K-12 schools that have reimagined how best to serve their students. The microgrants will enable school leaders to accelerate innovative learning solutions for Arizona’s most vulnerable student populations.
Provide Extra Supports to High-Needs Schools
The disruption in learning is anticipated to widen achievement gaps. To make up for lost instruction and help students in need of extra support, $20 million in Acceleration Academy Grants will be available for high-need Arizona schools to harness math and reading specialists, teams of paraprofessionals, targeted interventions and other resources for learning and remediation.
Increase and Improve Distance Learning Options
With additional investments from the CARES Act, the Arizona Department of Education will provide $6 million to school districts and public charter schools to expand access to and improve the quality of distance learning, including educator professional development.
Intensive Tutoring for Underserved Students
Arizona is investing $500,000 in teacher stipends as part of a partnership with Teach for America. The stipends will support incoming teachers in providing one-on-one instruction for high-need students in underserved schools across the state.