State Superintendent discusses COVID relief package impact in Alabama

COVID-19 relief money in AL schools

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As lawmakers nail down new changes to the stimulus bill - education leaders are watching and waiting because money for schools is included in the package. Delays getting that bill signed means delays rolling out roughly $54 billion to public schools that’s desperately needed.

State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey said it took about a month after the last bill was signed to get the money allocation and a few weeks after that to get it to schools.

If the bill is signed soon it could be February before schools see that extra money.

This new bill includes four times more money for schools. Dr. Mackey says state by state allocations have not been released yet, but based on the math from the previous bill Alabama could get $800 - $900 million dollars.

Mackey says it appears that there are very few strings attached to how the money can be spent and school leaders may be able to spend it over the next two years. He’s leaving it up to local leaders to decide what’s needed to best serve their students, but suggests using the money to help with academic slide we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic.

“Would encourage them to spend it on assessing and closing the achievement gap and helping students catch up or get ahead,” said Dr. Mackey, State Superintendent. “That means summer school programs, extended school year, before and after school tutoring. That sort of thing.”

Once the bill is signed and the money is here it’s expected it will be distributed using the Title 1 formula - which means higher poverty schools would get more.

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