Governor Little Requests Relief Funds to Fully Fund Idaho Schools, Establish Education Initiative to Support Families

Governor Little, in press conference earlier this afternoon, announced that he will request $99 million in COVID-19 relief funds to be directed to Idaho schools in order to ensure they can provide proper education to Idaho’s school aged children in the wake of the pandemic.   The additional relief funds would replenish school budget coffers that were cut when he levied a 5% budget cut for all state agencies at the beginning of the response to COVID-19.  The $99 million would be added to the $122 million that has already been provided to K-12 education, earlier in the year.  Included with the $60 million that was already announced for safe reopening of Idaho schools, the new funding would make school budgets whole as per the levels originally set by the 2020 Idaho Legislature.

In addition to the direct funding for Idaho public schools, Governor Little announced the formulation of the “Strong Families, Strong Students” initiative, which would establish a grant fund for qualifying families to purchase eligible education materials, devices and services.  Idaho families eligible for the funds could receive $1,500 per eligible student or a maximum of $3,500 per family.  Little explained that the Idaho State Board of Education would establish the family criteria and be the overall administer of the program.  The goal is for families to begin applying for funds as early as the beginning of October.

Governor Little expressed, “When parents have to step in to provide instruction and equipment due to school-related closures, we see them pushed out of the work force – something that strains our economic rebound.”

The funding request was submitted to the Governor’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC), which has provided guidance and approval of CARES Act fund usage since early in the pandemic response.  The CFAC is made up of representatives of the Idaho Legislature, multiple directors of  Idaho state agencies, representatives of Idaho cities, counties, tribal governments and businesses as well as Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin.

Posted in Advocacy on the Move.