Maryland State Department of Education provides $10M in grant funding to support in-person instruction this fall
MARYLAND – The Maryland State Department of Education is providing $10 million dollars in grant money to support schools that reopen to students this fall before the second quarter starts.
“We are very grateful for the dollars that we get. Can we always use more? Absolutely,” said Worcester County Public Schools Superintendent Louis H. Taylor.
“But anything we get is needed,” said Taylor.
School officials have less than two weeks to submit an application with their in-person learning plan to qualify for funding.
“So, we are working very fervently right now just to get our information straight and make sure that our schools are set up properly,” said Somerset County Public Schools Public Relations Specialist Victoria Miele.
State officials say this new federally funded grant money is a result of improved health metrics across the state and school districts we spoke to say it’s time to slowly bring students back inside classrooms.
“Virtual learning does not work for everyone, doesn’t work for all students,” said Miele.
Somerset County Public Schools says they’ll have to double down on transportation this fall so this money is needed. Meanwhile, Worcester County Public Schools says they’ll need the money for internet connectivity. However, the Maryland State Education Association says although they are grateful for the opportunity, some might call it a bribe.
“Some might call it a bribe,” said the Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost.
“If you do what we tell you to do you will get some this money when we know across the state everybody needs this investment to make sure our schools can open up,” said Bost.
Bost says these $10 million dollars in grant money just isn’t enough for schools to effectively implement health and safety protocols.
State officials say these funds can be used for expenses related to building readiness and transportation.
In Somerset County, school officials say they are also counting on this possible grant money to help them provide school lunches for more students who don’t have transportation.
School officials say they’ve been providing free meals at their different distribution sites during the pandemic, but there are students who aren’t able to rely on transportation to get there. That’s why the school district is pushing hard to get this funding so they can bring food to more of these students at their homes.