Montgomery County Schools Receives Boost In Federal & State Funds

Montgomery County Public Schools Received Boost In Federal And State Funds With A Cumulative $35.5M For Mental Health Services…

Montgomery County Schools Receives Boost In Federal & State Funds

A tutoring program, broadband, a technology program, and more.

The largest chunk — $18.3 million — is a federal grant to provide technology access to all MCPS students, including internet access and a computer or device while students are learning remotely.

A separate federal grant of $1.7 million will be used to purchase equipment for students and staff members who don’t have access to the internet or need devices to participate in classes for remote learning and teaching.

Another $13.2 million in federal funds will be used to set up online tutoring for MCPS students to improve reading and math skills from remote instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal grants are also covering $1.1 million to purchase and provide cellular hotspots and service for students who don’t have broadband service. The funds would also cover the monthly cost of wireless hotspots.

The remaining $1.1 million, in a state grant, will be used for school safety, which includes additional mental health support for students, mentoring and trauma informed care, behavioral threat assessments, and other needs.

  • The funds are not part of the county’s School Resource Officer program.
  • The County Council unanimously approved the State Funds on Sept. 29.

It also unanimously approved $7.7 million to be used for helping child care providers offer care during a virtual learning semester.

The federal grant State Funds would provide child care before, during, and after school to students in low-income working families and children in foster care during the fall school semester.

The programs are expected to help parents and caregivers who can’t telework and provide supervision for children as they learn virtually.

Here’s how the money will be broken down:

  • $5.6 million to support tuition for full-day, school-age child care services for low-income working families whose income is below 400% of the federal poverty level and children in foster in foster care while MCPS is meeting virtually in the fall
  • $1.8 million for reopening grants for full-day, school-age child care services in MCPS buildings
  • $287,000 to the county’s health department for child care providers and tuition support services for low-income families and foster families

The reopening grants will be based on the number of classrooms that child care providers open during the fall semester, multiplied by $19,500. The maximum grant award is $250,000.

“We know that this is not a panacea for child care providers and families and that is why we will continue to monitor and evaluate the needs of both as we move forward,” Council President Sidney Katz said.

Several community members spoke during a public hearing and expressed concerns that smaller child care providers are being left out of distance learning support in schools. They also requested that some financial support also be offered to child care programs in nonpublic spaces.

Council Member Craig Rice said the county can help with all child care needs.

“I think we can do it all,” he said. “It’s clear that we need to move forward with this funding while [we] also … look at how we can continue to support some of these great hubs that are doing great things in the community.”

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