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Florida schools get $173 million in federal coronavirus aid

The money should be spent on continuing education through the pandemic, said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a $3 billion relief package for state education systems. Florida will receive the second-highest amount, about $173 million.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a $3 billion relief package for state education systems. Florida will receive the second-highest amount, about $173 million. [ ALEX BRANDON | Associated Press ]
Published Apr. 14, 2020

About $3 billion will be distributed to governors to aid state school systems through the coronavirus crisis, the federal government announced Tuesday. And Florida’s cut is the second-highest at about $173 million.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in the announcement that the money should be spent on “continuing education for students of all ages” while regular schooling is disrupted due to the virus. The Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond to questions about how the state might spend the money.

The funds are referred to as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, which is authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The act also fueled about $6 billion in funding for the country’s colleges and universities that was announced Monday.

Related: Florida colleges will collect tens of millions in federal aid. Here's a school-by-school breakdown.

DeVos’ announcement Tuesday called the funds “extraordinarily flexible" and “designed to enable governors to decide how best to meet the needs” of students and schools, including charter schools and private institutions.

“Governors have the opportunity to truly rethink and transform the approach to education during this national emergency and ensure learning continues,” she said. “At a time when so many school boards and superintendents have shut down learning for the balance of the school year, I want to encourage each and every governor to focus on continuity of education for all students.”

States must apply for the funds, but “red tape and delays typically associated with the award of federal grant funds" have been reduced, the announcement said. Once a state does apply, officials can expect to receive the funds within three business days.

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