Gov. Northam announces $46.6M for Virginia private schools

Education

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced $46.6 million in federal funding to help the state’s private schools.

The funding will help cover pandemic-related expenses and ensure facilities can operate safety, Northam’s office wrote in a news release.

The funds come from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, which was approved in December. Through that act, states received $2.75 billion cumulatively for emergency education relief for non-public schools. The funding is given to non-public schools by the state.

Under the CRRSA Act, Virginia will receive $993 million in funding for pre-K-12 education. $946 million of that goes to Virginia’s public schools.

$101 million will be set aside for statewide education initiatives such as enhancing student literacy, providing extended year learning opportunities, and increasing digital instruction tools for educators.

“All of our students and educators have endured tremendous educational disruptions over the past year,” said Northam. “These funds will help our private schools address pandemic-related operating costs and ensure they can continue to meet the individual needs of their students during this challenging time and as we move forward.”

There are 488 accredited K-12 private schools in the state that serve 112,000 students, according to the Virginia Council on Private Education (VCPE).

Approved funding uses for non-public schools under the CRRSA Act include, but are not limited to:

  • Supplies to sanitize, disinfect and clean school facilities;
  • Personal protective equipment;
  • Improving ventilation systems, including windows or portable air purification systems;
  • Training and professional development for staff on sanitization, the use of personal protective equipment and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases;
  • Physical barriers to facilitate social distancing;
  • Other materials, supplies, or equipment recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain health and safety; and
  • Educational technology to assist students, educators, and other staff with remote or hybrid learning.

President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan that was approved in March also includes $122 billion for “recovery efforts” of K-12 schools. Ninety percent of the funding will go directly to local school districts based on the formula for distributing federal Title I funds, while the other 10% will support state-level efforts to help schools recover from the pandemic. Virginia will receive $2.1 billion, with $1.9 billion going directly to school divisions, and about $200 million reserved to support state-level K-12 recovery initiatives.

Eligible private schools must submit an application to the Virginia Department of Education by April 26. The application form and additional information on the EANS program are available here.

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