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News Story | January 20, 2021

News on 6: New Program Keeps Low-Income Oklahoma Students in Private School

The state of Oklahoma launched a program last summer to help low-income families keep their students in private schools. The Stay in School Fund tuition assistance program, launched by Governor Kevin Stitt in July, is said to have exceeded expectations in ensuring low-income families who suffered a COVID-19 related job loss or demonstrated financial challenges could keep their child in their learning environment.

"Our Stay in School program has successfully supported more low-income children and their families than officials predicted for a fraction of the cost,” said Gov. Stitt. “By ensuring these children could remain within their educational support system amidst a global pandemic, we have provided critical stability for families who need it most.”

The governor's office provided a press release about the program, which included personal testimonies from three Oklahoma families about how the program impacted them. Those statements are included below.

“I am a single mother of two who attend a Christian school. As is, I struggle to send them there, but I make the sacrifices necessary because I think Christian education is important. I work two jobs, which both have been very much affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With everything that’s happened, I knew I couldn’t afford tuition. I am more than grateful to have been given the opportunity for my kids to stay in their school and have some sense of normalcy." – Josephine Shaw, mother of Stay in School Fund students
“Without Governor Stitt’s support and the generosity of the ‘Stay in School fund’ program, my daughter would have not been able to continue her education within the private school sector. Due to a recent terminal diagnosis, my family has had a sudden shift in all areas, but thanks to Governor Stitt and his God-fearing heart, my daughter did not have to take a sudden shift in her education, teachers, and friends. No amount of gratitude can suffice.” – Teresa Ponce, mother of a Stay in School Fund student
“Our family came here to Oklahoma due to business opportunities, but COVID lent to further difficulty as we, like many, had to close one business and I lost one of my two part-time jobs. Your grant program came at just the right time for our family. We were so thankful to have been given the opportunity to apply. When we learned we had been approved, it lifted a huge weight. We truly appreciate Governor Stitt for advocating for our kids. From a full heart, we can’t say ‘thank you’ enough!” – Dawn Hughes, mother of a Stay in School Fund student 

The Stay in School Fund program used $10 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, provided through the federal CARES Act, to help stabilize Oklahoma’s education system and reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences by providing temporary funds to students currently attending private schools whose continued attendance was threatened by the financial fallout of COVID-19.

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Press Release | January 20, 2021

Stay In School Fund Supports Low-Income Students, Stabilizes Families

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 20, 2021)— The Stay in School Fund tuition assistance program, launched by Governor Kevin Stitt in July 2020, has exceeded expectations in ensuring low-income families who suffered a COVID-19-related job loss or demonstrated financial challenges could maintain consistency in their child’s learning environment. 

"Our Stay in School program has successfully supported more low-income children and their families than officials predicted for a fraction of the cost,” said Gov. Stitt. “By ensuring these children could remain within their educational support system amidst a global pandemic, we have provided critical stability for families who need it most.”

“I am a single mother of two who attend a Christian school. As is, I struggle to send them there, but I make the sacrifices necessary because I think Christian education is important. I work two jobs, which both have been very much affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With everything that’s happened I knew I couldn’t afford tuition. I am more than grateful to have been given the opportunity for my kids to stay in their school and have some sense of normalcy." – Josephine Shaw, mother of Stay in School Fund students

“Without Governor Stitt’s support and the generosity of the ‘Stay in School fund’ program, my daughter would have not been able to continue her education within the private school sector. Due to a recent terminal diagnosis, my family has had a sudden shift in all areas, but thanks to Governor Stitt and his God-fearing heart, my daughter did not have to take a sudden shift in her education, teachers, and friends. No amount of gratitude can suffice.” – Teresa Ponce, mother of a Stay in School Fund student

“Our family came here to Oklahoma due to business opportunities, but COVID lent to further difficulty as we, like many, had to close one business and I lost one of my two part-time jobs. Your grant program came at just the right time for our family. We were so thankful to have been given the opportunity to apply. When we learned we had been approved, it lifted a huge weight. We truly appreciate Governor Stitt for advocating for our kids. From a full heart, we can’t say ‘thank you’ enough!” – Dawn Hughes, mother of a Stay in School Fund student 

The Stay in School Fund program used $10 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief(GEER) Fund, provided through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, 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 was threatened by the financial fallout of COVID-19.

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News Story | January 20, 2021

KFOR: Stay in School Fund tuition assistance helps low income private school students during pandemic

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma’s Stay in School Fund tuition assistance program surpassed expectations in ensuring low income private school students have educational stability after their families either lost jobs or struggled financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office.

Stitt launched the program in July 2020.

“Our Stay in School program has successfully supported more low-income children and their families than officials predicted for a fraction of the cost,” Stitt said. “By ensuring these children could remain within their educational support system amidst a global pandemic, we have provided critical stability for families who need it most.”

The news release states that $10 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, provided through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, went to the Stay in School Fund program to help stabilize the state’s education system and provide temporary funds to students attending private schools whose continued attendance was threatened by the financial hardship caused by COVID-19.

The program largely helps low-income families, according to the news release.

“More than one out of every five children benefitting from the program came from a home with income at 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL) or lower, which equates to a family of four with $26,200 or less in annual income. Nearly 60% of recipients were from families with incomes at 185% of the FPL or less, or $48,470 for a family of four,” the news release states.

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News Story | January 16, 2021

KFOR: Oklahoma school districts can once again claim credits for digital learning resources and courseware

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The digital learning initiative Learn Anywhere Oklahoma is reopening the window for PreK-12th grade schools to claim credits for free digital learning resources to support educational needs during the pandemic.

Learn Anywhere Oklahoma was launched by Gov. Kevin Stitt in August 2020 and has “provided flexibility to districts to expand course options and provide virtual learning tools to meet individual student needs all while keeping them enrolled and engaged in the district,” according to a news release issued by the Governor’s Office.

“Programs like Learn Anywhere Oklahoma that provide quality resources to our students while being responsible stewards of taxpayer resources are exactly what Oklahoma needs,” Stitt said. “We went into the fall semester unsure of what learning was going to look like. The Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program partnered with the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center to put together a program that has given our brick-and-mortar public schools flexibility and nimbleness to enhance their local education plans and to keep schools open and serving all students well and seamlessly.”

Read more here

Press Release | January 15, 2021

Learn Anywhere Oklahoma Reopens For School Districts To Claim Credits For Digital Learning Resources

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 15, 2021) - Learn Anywhere Oklahoma, a digital learning initiative launched by Governor Kevin Stitt in August 2020, announced today it is re-opening the window for PreK-12th grade schools to claim credits for free digital learning resources to support education efforts and supplemental course needs during the pandemic. Learn Anywhere Oklahoma has provided flexibility to districts to expand course options and provide virtual learning tools to meet individual student needs all while keeping them enrolled and engaged in the district. 

Roughly $1.2 million in unclaimed credits are available to all school districts until funds are depleted on a first come, first served basis. School districts can claim these credits by visiting https://www.learnanywhereok.org or calling the help desk at (405) 645-7750. 

“I have been thrilled to witness the success of Learn Anywhere Oklahoma in bridging the gap in education resources and courses no matter where a student lives or chooses to attend school in our state,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters. “Partnerships between virtual education entities and brick-and-mortar schools have never been in higher demand, and we must continue to cultivate these collaborations to empower Oklahoma students, parents, and educators with expanded access to quality education well into the future.” 

The virtual curriculum provider Edmentum has also agreed to return early $900,000 in unclaimed program funds for reallocation through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund.  

“Programs like Learn Anywhere Oklahoma that provide quality resources to our students while being responsible stewards of taxpayer resources are exactly what Oklahoma needs,” said Gov. Stitt. “We went into the fall semester unsure of what learning was going to look like. The Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program partnered with the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center to put together a program that has given our brick-and-mortar public schools flexibility and nimbleness to enhance their local education plans and to keep schools open and serving all students well and seamlessly.” 

Read more here. 

News Story | January 11, 2021

Stillwater News Press: Payne County receives $1.44 million in COVID relief

The Payne County Budget Board approved the fifth and sixth disbursements of CARES Act funds Monday. County Clerk Glenna Craig advised the board that Payne County has received $1.445 million from CARES Act funds.

Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in March of 2020. The Act approved over $2 trillion of economic relief from the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Oklahoma received $1.2 billion of CARES Act funds. The act established a coronavirus relief fund for local governments to obtain reimbursement for necessary expenditures incurred due to COVID-19 from March 1 to Dec. 30.

Kyla McCombs, purchasing agent for the Payne County Clerk’s office, has been submitting expenses for reimbursement through a computer portal approved by a CARES FORWARD team created in May by Gov. Kevin Stitt to provide oversight and maximize the distribution of federal funds to cities and counties.

The first requests for reimbursement dealt with reimbursement for expenditures for cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. McCombs developed a spread sheet with 17 qualifying categories to submit for reimbursement.

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News Story | December 24, 2020

Public Radio Tulsa: Oklahoma Food Banks Get $6M in State CARES Act Funds to Restock

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday $6 million from the state’s federal coronavirus relief funding will go toward helping food banks across the state restock.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma will distribute food purchased with the funds to partners in their areas.

"Oklahoma’s food banks have been such a valuable partner in our state’s comprehensive response to COVID-19. I’m proud to be able to deliver these funds to help replenish their supplies and ensure they have what they need to continue their important mission of feeding Oklahomans who need assistance," Stitt said in a statement.

Since March, the two food banks have distributed a combined 7.3 million pounds more food than during the same time period last year. Food banks across the state have seen up to a 30% increase in the number of Oklahomans looking for help.

"With many avenues of securing donated food interrupted due to this pandemic, food banks have resorted to purchasing more food to meet the vastly increased demand. While hopeful for a quick recovery, we know the benefits of an improved economy will take longest to reach the people we serve," Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma Lori Long said in a statement.

Read more here

News Story | December 24, 2020

News on 6: Gov. Stitt Announces $6M In CARES Act Funding Approved To Help Local Food Banks

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said that $6 million in CARES Act funding has been approved to help local food banks provide assistance to families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Governor Stitt, the money will support the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

The governor's office said that both agencies need help replenishing their food supply as many Oklahomans struggle to feed their families amid the pandemic.

The two food banks have distributed 7.3 million pounds more this year than the previous year. Food banks are also seeing a 25% to 30% increase in the number of Oklahomans needing help.

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News Story | December 24, 2020

Oklahoman: Oklahoma to use $6 million in CARES Act money to replenish food banks

Oklahoma will use $6 million in CARES Act money to replenish food banks across the state.

The funds will be used to replenish the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank in Eastern Oklahoma, both of which had their supplies depleted after a rough year that left many Oklahomans seeking help.

"Oklahoma's food banks have been such a valuable partner in our state's comprehensive response to COVID-19," Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a news release. "I'm proud to be able to deliver these funds to help replenish their supplies and ensure they have what they need to continue their important mission of feeding Oklahomans who need assistance."

According to the state, the two food banks have distributed 7.3 million pounds more in 2020 than they did in 2019. The food banks have also seen an 25-30% increase in Oklahomans seeking assistance.

Read more here

Press Release | December 23, 2020

Governor Stitt Announces $6 Million In CARES Act Funds Approved for Food Banks

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 23, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today $6 million has been approved in replenishment funding from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund to support food banks statewide.  

These funds will reach each corner of the state by delivery through the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The funding will allow the two food banks to replenish their food supply after an unprecedented year that left many Oklahomans struggling to feed their families.  

“Oklahoma’s food banks have been such a valuable partner in our state’s comprehensive response to COVID-19,” said Gov. Stitt. "I’m proud to be able to deliver these funds to help replenish their supplies and ensure they have what they need to continue their important mission of feeding Oklahomans who need assistance.” 

Since COVID-19 was first confirmed in Oklahoma, there has been a drastic increase in need from food insecure families across the state. The two food banks combined have distributed 7.3 million pounds more in 2020 than during the same time frame last year. Additionally, food banks have seen a 25 to 30 percent increase in the number of Oklahomans seeking assistance.  

The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma are part of the Feeding America network and support community food banks in all 77 counties.  

Read more here

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