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NM expects $130M for schools from CARES Act

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

The state Public Education Department is anticipating that roughly $130 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, will be available for New Mexico schools.

Education Secretary Ryan Stewart told the Journal that the PED is seeking money from two funds in the act.

New Mexico has applied for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and is expecting a $108 million appropriation.

Stewart said 90% of this money would go to school districts and charter schools and could be used for a range of needs, including personal protective equipment for staff or technology.

“It’s designed to be pretty broad,” Stewart said.

Districts will apply for this money, but it’s not a traditional competitive grant process.

Funding will be distributed based on Title I status, which is a federal funding stream for students who are from low-income families.

Some of New Mexico’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding would also go to administrative costs, and the rest would be distributed by the PED, with a focus on digital resources and the needs of students who are at-risk or have special needs, among other priorities.

The PED is also expecting $22 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

“The vast majority of it will go out to districts and charter schools, institutes of higher education and support for work in early childhood education,” Stewart said.

This money will be distributed at the discretion of the Governor’s Office, and schools in most need will be given priority, Stewart said.

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