OK Policy Analysis Says Gov. Stitt Misses the Mark on Helping School Children

Rebecca Fine, education policy analyst with OK Policy, analyzed Gov. Stitt’s plan for spending federal relief dollars that Oklahoma received as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) for education. Fine reports that the Governor’s plan for Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding will direct “large sums of relief funding to a tiny fraction of Oklahoma children and a small number of private schools…”

Gov. Stitt’s plan leaves more students without access to technology and provides $10 million “to less than 1 percent – just 1,500 – of the state’s low-income students to pay for private school,” writes Fine.

Fine also questions the equity of the governor’s allocation of $12 million to “create the largely undefined Learn Anywhere digital platform…”

Here is the breakdown of Gov. Stitt’s Plan according to the OK Policy analysis:

Fifty percent of GEER funding will reach less than 1 percent of all students in Oklahoma

Gov. Stitt received $39.9 million total in GEER funding and his recently announced plan outlined how he will spend $30 million of those dollars. Earlier, Gov. Stitt awarded $8 million of GEER funding for competitive Incentive Grants to public schools for emergency needs. Superintendent Hofmeister dedicated an additional $8 million in other federal funding and the combined $16 million Incentive Grants were awarded to 150 districts serving approximately 282,700 students. By contrast, Gov. Stitt’s plan is to spend remaining $30 million of GEER funding as follows:

  • $10 million for Stay in School Funds: $6,500 stipends will be awarded to 1,500 low-income families whose children attend private schools.
  • $8 million for Every Kid Counts: $1,500 grants will be awarded to 5,000 low-income students to purchase curriculum content, tutoring services, or technology.
  • $12 million for Learning Anywhere digital platform: The Learning Anywhere online education platform will “allow schools to access high quality digital content” such as Advanced Placement courses across all grade levels.

Fine’s analysis concludes that Gov. Stitt’s plan to use the remaining federal GEER dollars negatively impacts low-income students and students of color in favor of spending large amounts of money on a small number of children.

Read the entire analysis here: https://okpolicy.org/gov-stitts-geer-plan-widens-the-gap-in-access-to-technology-and-online-learning-for-low-income-students-and-students-of-color/

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