How governors are spending CARES Act education funds

36 governors expand broadband while only seven target safe reopening of schools
By: | September 10, 2020
Expanding access to online learning has taken priority over safely reopening schools in most governors' CARES Act spending plans for education, according to an analysis. (GettyImages/Mint Images)(GettyImages/Mint Images)

Many governors have prioritized strengthening online and remote learning in their states as they spend $3 billion in CARES Act education funding.

Some 36 governors have used CARES Act money to provide students with broadband while only 7 have spent funds on safety measures for reopening of schools, according to an analysis by FutureEd, an education think tank at Georgetown University, and nonprofit The Hunt Institute.

Alabama, for example, is equipping school buses with Wi-Fi routers while Montana is doing the same at local libraries.

Other states are using the funds to buy instructional technology.


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For example, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee will provide his state’s districts with $50 million in grants to buy laptops, tablets, and Wi-Fi devices.

Teacher professional development in remote instruction and online learning curriculums are being funded in 35 states, including:

  • Idaho has teamed up with public television to develop an online learning program.
  • Massachusetts is expanding online Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment classes.
  • Oklahoma is awarding grants to families for tutoring and online curriculum.

The analysis also found:

  • Seven governors, including leaders in Montana and New Mexico, are spending funds on sanitization, cleaning and protective gear.
  • 17 governors hope to close learning gaps through summer school and tutoring. All of California’s $355 million, for example, will go toward programs designed to reducer learning loss.
  • Programs for students with disabilities are receiving funding in six states, including Arizona, Maryland and Texas.
  • Social-emotional learning is a funding priority in eleven states. North Carolina is hiring more school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists while Connecticut is developing a statewide SEL framework.
  • Governors in 12 states are funding out-of-school assistance. Florida is bolstering telehealth services while several other states are expanding meal programs.

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DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.


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