The Vigo County School Corp. will receive $3.4 million in federal CARES Act funding, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

The federal CARES stimulus funding includes the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, to help schools – private and public – adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indiana will receive about $215 million for K-12, said Adam Baker, Indiana Department of Education spokesman.

The final allocation for Indiana schools is based on each school corporation’s population of low-income students, also known as the Title I formula, according to WFYI. Funding support sent to traditional public school districts will be shared with non-public schools within the district’s boundary.

Bill Riley, VCSC director of communications, said a “significant amount” of the funds will be used for technology, including Chromebooks for all high school students by this fall. “We’re looking to accelerate our technology plan,” he said.

Under initial VCSC plans, only teachers were to have Chromebooks in 2020-21, but the pandemic — and remote learning this spring — have prompted the district to purchase them for high school students as well for the next school year.

Also, with the uncertainty of the pandemic’s course over the next year, “I think you’ll see us invest in remote learning resources,” Riley said. In the event schools must once again implement online, or remote learning, for next school year, the district will be better prepared, he said.

VCSC is still collecting information from local non-public schools, and, “We anticipate they will receive a portion” of that funding, he said.

There has been some controversy associated with the federal stimulus funding.

The U.S. Department of Education’s directive on how schools should split K-12 CARES Act funds would reduce emergency funding available for low-income public schools, and increase the amount for private schools, WFYI reported. The federal guidance said districts should share the funding with local private schools based on total enrollment.

The state estimated that would make approximately $15.4 million accessible to private schools in Indiana.

In a memo, Jennifer McCormick — superintendent of public instruction — told school districts to ignore guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and to follow the language in the law. It means districts receiving emergency funding will share with private schools based on their number of low-income students instead of total enrollment.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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