Kemp announces millions in state funding for Ga. schools

The funding, called Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER), is to support K-12 and...
The funding, called Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER), is to support K-12 and higher education as they “continue to address the disruptions and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”(WALB)
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 2:58 PM EST
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ATLANTA (WALB) - On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced a slew of recipients of state funding totaling over $47 million.

The funding, called Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER), is to support K-12 and higher education as they “continue to address the disruptions and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“As we work to meet the needs of students, parents and teachers by maintaining in-person learning, we know that our schools and education support organizations will need additional help,” Kemp said. “We also know our education providers play a critical role in providing the workforce needed to combat the health and economic effects of the pandemic. This round of funding is geared toward the goal of keeping our kids in the classroom with minimal disruption to their education while strengthening that classroom-to-workforce pipeline. By working around the clock, we have weathered the difficulties presented by COVID-19 for almost three school years. With this new round of support, we will help get our educators and students across the finish line of the pandemic.”

Here is the breakdown of the funding:

Classroom Grants - $15.4 million

All K-12 teachers and paraprofessionals will be given $125 to be used for classroom expenses. The Department of Early Care and Learning will also be prepared to leverage federal funds for birth to age 5 teachers and paraprofessionals to complement this decision.

Teacher Pipeline - $1.3 million

Kemp will put $789,730 in funding towards the expansion of the Georgia Math & Reading Corps program in Southwest Georgia. Kemp’s office said this program helps “high-need students unlock their potential through evidence-based and data-driven tutoring.” The funding will help improve student achievement and recruit tutors — specifically in rural Georgia — for everyday instruction.

Some $517,575 will also be awarded to the Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation. This will help expand Georgia’s teacher pipeline and accelerate students in literacy by providing college tutors for reading instruction to K-5 students, promote reading and writing activities, help future teachers obtain field experience, and develop best practices for integrating tutoring support throughout the school day.

Student Mental Health Needs - $6 million

The governor will be extending the mental health initiative that was funded through GEER I until July 2023 through $5.5 million additional funds. His office said this will provide postsecondary students with more access to mental health resources and additional professional development opportunities for faculty.

Some $510,410 will also be awarded for Trauma Informed Care (TIC) Calm Down Stations and TIC calm down kits for individual families around the state, in support of wraparound services through YMCAs.

Education-to-Workforce Pipeline for Healthcare - $3.1 million

Kemp is dedicating these funds to support the need for more nurses and “additional training with a special emphasis on expanding educational opportunities to more areas of the state and providing hands-on learning experiences,” his office said.

Funding will go to the following:

  • Georgia Southwestern State - $866,723
  • Fort Valley State - $1,320,150
  • Middle Georgia State - $900,000

PCOM Medicine Project (Moultrie Campus) - $820,202

Kemp is providing funds to build partnerships between K-12 school systems and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, or PCOM. His office said this support will also provide technology upgrades and means-tested aid for student housing issues.

Education-to-Workforce Pipeline for Commercial Drivers - $8.32 million

Kemp is directing funding to support the “critical need for more commercial drivers and workforce training opportunities, further addressing the supply chain issues impacting the state and country,” his office said.

Funding will go to the following:

  • Savannah Technical College - $1,990,000 for driving pad and trailers
  • Georgia Piedmont Technical College - $2,000,000 for driving range and pad, and trailers
  • Oconee Fall Line Technical College - $1,150,000 for driving pad and simulators
  • Columbus Technical College - $1,770,000 for driving pad, mobile classroom, trailers, and simulators
  • Southern Crescent Technical College - $1,132,500 for driving range and pad resurfacing, mobile classroom, and trailers
  • Southeastern Technical College - $275,000 for driving range and pad resurfacing

Improving Outcomes for Students with Dyslexia - $4.7million

Building on the foundation of 2019′s SB 48 (2019), the governor will provide funds for a dyslexia screening and intervention tool for K-3 students.

“These funds will also be utilized to provide personalized reading instruction based on results, giving teachers another resource to help students succeed in reading,” Kemp’s office said. “This project will impact 60,000 K-3 students in 14 different school districts. In Georgia, it is important that we ‘screen and intervene.’”

Rock Eagle 4-H Center - $2.2 million

Kemp’s office said Rock Eagle is a “crucial institution for hands-on learning experiences focused on agricultural and environmental information, leadership, communication skills, food and nutrition, health, energy conservation, and citizenship.” The governor said this funding will provide needed improvements to the facility to increase safety and expand learning experience opportunities.

Charter School Growth Initiative - $4.1 million

Kemp said he is awarding funding to support the “creation and replication of 10 new, high-quality charter schools in underserved communities.” The funds will used for start-up costs, networking opportunities, long-term planning support, among others.

STEM Education - $1 million

Kemp is awarding funds to Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers, Inc. to strengthen STEM learning with real-world information from industries in the state. Programming will focus on afterschool enrichment options, family science events, and providing technology to students. Counties that will benefit from these funds include Baker, Clay, Glascock, Hancock, Lincoln and Warren.

Georgia Music Education Grants - $200,000

Kemp is providing funds to schools and nonprofits across the state for music-related educational instruction.

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