State invests additional $123.5 million into higher education, public education

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FILE PHOTO: Texas Governor Gregg Abbott speaking to the press following his tour of the Southern border wall on June 30, 2021. Abbott announced that Texas had begun building its state border barrier days before. Credit: Sal Castro, ValleyCentral

AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that the state of Texas will invest an additional $123.5 million in federal funds to support the state’s various educational entities. According to a news release, this comes through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and will be the final allocation of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds (GEER).

This comes after the Texas Education Agency allocated billions of dollars in federal and state grants to districts throughout the state of Texas over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This newest round of dollars includes the following items:

  • $20 million to increase funding for the Supplemental Special Education Services program which provides money directly to families and connects eligible students with severe cognitive disabilities to additional support for the services they need;
  • $10 million for Charter School Incubating and Replicating Grants to expand the number of charter schools available to Texas students;
  • $25 million to support Texas nurses through loan repayment, financial aid for nursing students and to accelerate innovation in nursing education;
  • $17.5 million to expand workforce-aligned, short-term credentials for high-need areas including digital skills, data analytics and programs for front-line health care workers;
  • $30.3 million for student success initiatives to improve student enrollment, retention and credential completion, including technology applications to strengthen student advising;
  • $12.5 million to continue strategic investments in student financial aid programs, including transfer grants and the Texas Leadership Scholarship Program;
  • $5 million to support the agency’s ongoing work to modernize the state’s educational and workforce data infrastructure and enhance cybersecurity;
  • $3 million for Commercial Driver License (CDL) training and repayment to improve transportation and the supply chain.

“The state of Texas remains committed to students and their success in our education systems — that includes ensuring parents have an option to send their kids to a high-quality charter school and providing direct support to families with children who have special needs,” Abbott said in the release. “We have also quickly become a leader in workforce education, reskilling, and upskilling, and this additional funding will ensure a talent-strong Texas that continues to create and import jobs for decades to come. In addition to Texas’ commitment to student success programs, this funding will help ensure that students of all ages will not only enter into a higher education program, but they will leave as quickly as possible with a high-value degree or credential.”

After this newest allocation, more than $362 million have been given through GEER funding for higher education through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as well as $67.5 million for public education since the beginning of the pandemic, the release states.

“While COVID-19 has created numerous challenges for schools, the Governor and legislative leadership continue to make public education a top priority,” Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in the release. “For some of our most at-risk students, this significant new round of funding will prioritize getting families across Texas direct access to special education and other targeted supplemental services to support their children’s varied educational needs.”

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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