By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) When Congress sent nearly $118 million in CARES Act funding for Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to use for government operations impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, they meant for her to provide housing to the homeless, fund education for kids, feed the hungry, and help with the economic situation of families.
She dedicated $0.00 to the Department of Education in her list of expenditures of the $118 million. Thankfully, Congressman Michael San Nicolas made sure Guam was included in yet another section of the CARES Act: the Education Stabilization Fund.
The following is news from the Office of Congressman Michael San Nicolas:
The Education Stabilization Fund of the CARES Act set aside over $153M for the insular territories to provide relief and support for COVID-19 education-related activities. Guam is set to receive a total of $54,021,960, based on the island’s student-aged population and poverty levels. The Guam Department of Education, as the State Education Agency, will receive $43.2M for coronavirus-response activities including purchasing of education technology for online learning; planning and coordination for continued learning during school closures; and providing for education-related gaps in the unique challenges posed by low-income students and children. These funds shall also be made available to non-public schools.
"Our educators need the tools to keep our school children learning during these COVID-19 times, and these additional funds will assist in getting the computers, software, and programs necessary to further strengthen our remote learning capabilities," said Congressman San Nicolas.
The CARES Act also created the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF) for states and territories to address continued learning during this pandemic for students in all schools, including charter schools, non-public schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations. The U.S. Department of Education has allocated $10.8M to the Guam GEERF.
"It is only right that the entirety of these funds are available to all schools, as no child should be left behind in either our public, charter, or private school settings," Congressman San Nicolas concludes.