This particular round of funding comes from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), a bill that Congress passed in December 2020.
The same bill, one of three COVID-19 relief packages administered under the Trump and Biden administrations, provided just under $5 billion directly to Texas public schools. CRRSA allocations for each school district in the state can be found here.
Abbott’s allocation comes from a different portion of the same package, known as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. Rather than disbursing the whole fund to schools, Abbott said much of the $123.3 million would go directly to students and families themselves in the form of grants or other aid.
$20 million will go to families through the Supplemental Special Education Services program, a $1,500 grant for parents of children with special needs that have been impacted by COVID-19. Including Monday’s announcement, Abbott has dedicated $110 million total to the program since the Texas Education Agency created it in January.
$25 million will go to financial aid and loan repayment for Texas nurses, along with incentives to “accelerate innovation in nursing education.” Abbott also allocated $12.5 million to “continue strategic investments in student financial aid programs” outside of nursing, including transfer grants.
$3 million will pay for Commercial Driver License (CDL) training and costs.
The rest of the items on the governor’s list include $10 million to grow the number of charter schools in Texas, $17.5 million to “expand workforce-aligned, short-term credentials” for skills like technology and health care, $30.3 million for schools to regain student enrollment, and an additional $5 million for the Texas school system to improve cybersecurity.
“The State of Texas remains committed to students and their success in our education systems — that includes ensuring parents have an option to send their kids to a high-quality charter school and providing direct support to families with children who have special needs,” Abbott stated.
“We have also quickly become a leader in workforce education, reskilling, and upskilling, and this additional funding will ensure a talent-strong Texas that continues to create and import jobs for decades to come. In addition to Texas’ commitment to student success programs, this funding will help ensure that students of all ages will not only enter into a higher education program, but they will leave as quickly as possible with a high-value degree or credential.”
This latest round of GEER funding comes on the heels of $17 billion in federal aid available to Texas schools and $3.3 billion in approved debt for Texas public universities.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.