Alabama is using its CARES Act funds to bridge the digital divide, improve remote learning opportunities and offer intensive academic supports.
Highlights from Alabama’s Plan
Governor Kay Ivey recently announced her priorities to direct CARES Act funds to help Alabama’s large rural student population stay connected if campuses are closed for in-person instruction. The plan also invests in programs to help bridge learning and achievement gaps.
Improve Remote Learning Resources
The Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program will allocate $100 million in CARES Act funding for a public-private partnership to increase internet access for K-12 students who may need internet service for distance learning. The program will provide vouchers for families of students currently eligible for free and reduced-price school meals to cover equipment and service costs for high-speed internet service through December 31.
In addition, Alabama is directing $10 million to equip all school buses with Wi-Fi capabilities to increase internet connectivity and $4 million to improve remote learning opportunities by providing digital textbook and library resources for all students.
Offer Intensive Academic Supports
Alabama is investing $26 million to provide additional academic support to bridge learning and achievement gaps, as well as $9 million to support intensive before and after school tutoring resources for learning and remediation in schools.
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.
Alabama’s allocations of these flexible CARES funds include:
- $48,851,495 for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund
- $21,694,754 from the K-12 stabilization fund (10% of the full amount of $216,947,540 earmarked for K-12)