The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has been awarded over $13 million in COVID-19 Federal Relief Funds, which will provide critically needed dollars to support the 2020-2021 Reopening Plan, especially to meet technology needs for virtual instruction.
The largest grant award is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Technology Grant, which is valued at $6.56 million. Together, with the $4.2 million in Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSER) Fund grant, $359,512 from Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER), and $490,000 from the HCPSS General Fund, the school system is able to purchase sufficient student devices necessary to eventually achieve a 1:1 ratio for students in all grades pre-K through 12 and retain a 1% reserve of computers for replacement.
“Achieving 1:1 device deployment with this additional funding provides me with great relief as we can now be sure that every student will have the technology they need to be successful in this new instructional environment,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “It will take time to order, receive, prepare and distribute each device, and we will provide additional information to the community on how students may receive their devices this school year.”
Additionally, HCPSS received $2,265,001 from the CARES Tutoring Grant. HCPSS awaits grants award for the GEER Innovative Program Grant and Broadband for Underserved Populations, which are currently pending. The school system also continues to leverage the Bright Minds Access to Learning Fund to support more specific student needs.
“These funds will be critical as we look to implement a more robust virtual instruction program for the 2020-2021 school year,” said Mavis Ellis, Chair of the Howard County Board of Education. “I want to thank our staff for diligently pursuing every federal and state grant opportunity to maximize the funds that will be available to us to support our staff, students and families.”
On July 16, 2020, the Board of Education approved a virtual start to the school year through the end of the second marking period. On August 6, 2020, the Board will review the draft reopening plan and provide feedback. This plan will then be submitted to MSDE for final review by August 14, 2020. The final grant awards will be presented to the Howard County Board of Education for official acceptance at an upcoming meeting.