School districts can begin tapping into $1.29 billion in emergency federal funding in June

Most of the pandemic-relief money, appropriated as part of the CARES Act, will be distributed among school districts on the basis of student poverty rates. The biggest share, $81.7 million, will go to the state’s largest district, Houston ISD. You can find out how much your district will receive here.

The Texas Education Agency said districts will have flexibility in how to spend the money, but the agency is enforcing a controversial requirement that districts will have to share part of the funding with private school students, regardless of family income, within their boundaries.

Districts receiving federal money for low-income students have always had to use some of the funds to provide services to low-income students in private schools in their areas, but DeVos has expanded that requirement to all private school students within a district’s boundaries. And she is getting pushback from members of Congress over that expanded policy.

This funding is only a down payment on what school districts need in emergency relief for extraordinary expenses they have incurred during the pandemic. Students and educators need much more, and the U.S. House already has approved more, but the Senate is dragging its feet.

You can find more details about CARES Act funding here.

Federal cash infusion will start reaching Texas school districts in June