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Pima County school districts receive nearly $31 million in federal COVID-19 relief
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Pima County school districts receive nearly $31 million in federal COVID-19 relief

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Cases rise, judge rules that state can keep nursing home data from public series

A bus parked outside of Gallego Primary School on April 7, 2020, where students were able to pick up meals and use wifi for communicating with teachers and doing homework.

Pima County’s nine major school districts will receive nearly $31 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, the Arizona Department of Education announced Friday.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund contains nearly $250 million for Arizona K-12 schools, including district schools, many charter schools and nonprofit private schools.

The money is distributed to school districts based on their percentage of low-income children.

Tucson’s largest school district, TUSD, is receiving nearly $18.6 million.

Arizona Department of Education guidance says the CARES Act funds should be spent in three phases.

The first is relief: meeting the immediate needs of school closures and planning for summer school.

The second is preparation and prevention: preparing for schools to reopen and possible future disruptions because of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.

The third phase is recovery: managing the ongoing needs of students and schools while building safe learning environments.

Tucson’s other major school districts are receiving the following amounts:

  • Sunnyside — $5.7 million
  • Amphitheater — $3.1 million
  • Flowing Wells — $1.2 million
  • Marana — $1.1 million
  • Vail — $428,000
  • Sahuarita — $362,000
  • Catalina Foothills — $169,000
  • Tanque Verde — $75,000

Of the nearly $18.6 million allocated to Tucson Unified, 9% is required to go to nonprofit private schools within its boundary, according to Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo.

U.S. Department of Education guidance says school districts should allocate stimulus funding to participating private schools based on their proportionate population of total students at district and private schools within the district’s boundary.

There is another component of the coronavirus relief bill that may provide more relief to K-12 schools, for which the allocation has not been decided. The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund has $69 million for K-12 and higher education institutions that have been most significantly impacted by COVID-19.

The Arizona Department of Education is considering schools’ and districts’ ability to support online learning, areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases and tribal communities for possible prioritization of those funds.

Contact reporter Danyelle Khmara at dkhmara@tucson.com or 573-4223. On Twitter: @DanyelleKhmara

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