CARES Act funds help South Dakota schools defray pandemic costs

 South Dakota schools will receive $68 million via three funds in the CARES Act. (MGN)
South Dakota schools will receive $68 million via three funds in the CARES Act. (MGN) (KOTA)
Published: May. 26, 2020 at 3:36 PM MDT
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Federal dollars will be pouring into South Dakota to help schools defray costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Between three federal funds (part of the CARES Act), South Dakota public schools will receive about $68 million, according to Gov. Kristi Noem.

"A lot of these dollars are tied to costs that the schools could not have anticipated," Noem said. "Doing extra cleaning in their buildings, responding to health requirements, implementing distance learning." These are things, Noem added, that districts did not have in their budgets.

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund is about $19 million that went directly to 10 colleges and universities. Half goes to students to help cover costs for food, housing, technology, health care and child care.The rest helps the education institutions defray costs due to COVID-19. Tribal and private university funding amounts to $7.6 million.

Elementary and secondary public schools get the lion's share of grants, $41 million. The money is for educational services to the students, cleaning of schools, providing technology and internet connections for students.

Another $7.9 million goes to education via the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund. Of that, $5.7 million goes to fund quality remote learning, teacher professional development and supporting students as they come back to school. The other $2.2 million goes to support workers who were laid off.

Grants for private schools and universities will be announced later, according to the governor.

As for what the beginning of the next school year will look like: "I think every school district is approaching it differently," Noem said.

"I think they're planning to have students in their buildings but yet, putting in contingency plans should they need to make an adjustment at the local level and have kids learn from home as well. I think they're being wise in preparing for any situation that could come along this fall," Noem said.

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