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Education

As part of the CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Education provided a total of $338 million directly to Oklahoma’s public education systems to respond to COVID-19. Of this amount, $39.9 million was delivered through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. GEER was an extraordinarily flexible “emergency block grant” designed to enable governors to decide how best to meet the needs of students, schools, postsecondary institutions and other education-related organizations.

The CARES FORWARD team has requested for Oklahoma’s independent education institutions to report their use of CARES Act funding to this website, as the State does not have direct oversight. In the meantime, this website will provide full transparency for the distribution of GEER funds, in which the Governor and his executive branch have direct oversight. GEER funds have been distributed to the following initiatives:

Incentive Grants to K-12 Districts

Gov. Kevin Stitt and State Supt. of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister partnered to give eligible Oklahoma school districts an opportunity to apply for $16 million in emergency relief funds through the federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Incentive grant funds were made available through $8 million from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) set-aside amount from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and $8 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) discretionary funds. 

Districts will apply for Incentive Grants through the OSDE Grants Management System, and eligible expenditures must be reimbursed between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022. For more information on how to apply and qualify for the grants, click here

Learn Anywhere Oklahoma

Learn Anywhere Oklahoma is a $12 million GEER initiative to help public schools access high quality digital content, including Advanced Placement courses across grades K-12. Additionally, the funds will allow schools to provide access to online content with a teacher of record. The program will equalize opportunities for all Oklahoma kids, no matter where they live or their socio-economic status. 

This will be an offering through the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program (OSOCP). OSOCP will provide help desk support to schools in selecting the appropriate digital content for students. OSOCP will also provide professional development to schools with a focus on providing instruction to teachers related to best practices in distance learning instruction.

Digital content will be available soon at learnanywhereok.org.

Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet

Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet received $8 million from GEER to provide low income families with grants to purchase curriculum content, tutoring services and technology.

Every Kid Counts Oklahoma (EKCO) will be awarding grants to families on a first come, first serve basis. It will provide $1,500 individual grants to more than 5,000 low income Oklahoma families to be used to purchase curriculum content, tutoring services and/or technology. More information about the grants will be announced soon at everykidcountsok.org.

Stay in School Funds

Stay in School Funds is a $10 million GEER initiative to help stabilize Oklahoma’s education system and reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) by providing temporary funds to students currently attending private schools whose continued attendance is threatened by the financial fallout of COVID-19.

The funds will be allotted to low-income families who have suffered a COVID-19-related job loss or a demonstrated economic impact due to COVID-19-related factors. It is projected to help roughly 1,500 Oklahoma families with up to $6,500 in funds each. Oklahoma Private School Accrediting Commission (OPSAC) has been requested to oversee the distribution of emergency educational relief funding to these families.

Families can begin applying for the funds on August 1. More information about the program will be announced soon at opsac.org.

Skills to Rebuild

Skills 2 Rebuild is a $1 million GEER initiative offered by Tri County Tech of Bartlesville to provide accelerated programs to train at least 375 individuals to immediately enter well-paying jobs that are in high demand in the region, generating an annual payroll of $10 million in Oklahoma’s private sector. The funding will be utilized to make these programs tuition free for adult students who complete the programs. 

The Skills to Rebuild program will get adult students into the workforce in as little as 2 months by offering accelerated certifications in the areas of accounting, health care, nursing, child development, computer networking/cybersecurity, and manufacturing. Skills to Rebuild is unique in that it shortens the traditional time it takes for a student to complete these programs by an average of 20% while maintaining high educational standards for certifications and graduation. Furthermore, most courses will be offered virtually and on evenings and weekends to accommodate working students.   

The program is open to Oklahoma residents with the first round of classes slated to begin in August. For more information visit: www.Tricountytech.edu/Skills

PPE Supplies

In additional to the GEER funds, Governor Kevin Stitt designated $10 million in CRF to purchase PPE for all public schools that are delivering classroom education. This will purchase the following supplies:
  • 1.7 million reusable masks (two per teacher and student)
  • 42,000 clear face shields
  • 1.2 million pairs of disposable gloves
  • 1.2 million disposable gowns.