(Media release from the Office of Governor Brian Kemp):

Governor Brian P. Kemp on Monday announced over $37.4 million in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds will be awarded to various organizations around the state to support learning recovery initiatives and programs as educators and students continue to confront the learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With input from parents, students, and educators alike from all across Georgia, we worked diligently to get our schools back open and return to in-person learning safely following the pandemic,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “We know there is still more work to do when it comes to recovering from pandemic-driven learning loss in our classrooms. That’s why I’m thankful to know that these additional funds — on top of the historic investments we’ve made in K-12 education — will both put students first and help set them on a renewed path of learning success.”

The new allotment of GEER funds will go to various community and public organizations that directly impact Georgia’s students, including:

The Georgia Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs – $12 million
Following the overwhelming success of the Boys & Girls Club learning recovery efforts, Governor Kemp is allotting a further $12 million toward these efforts. This is on top of the $15 million allotted in GEERs I funding to the Boys & Girls Club last year which went to helping thousands of youth throughout the state return to grade-level achievement standards.

Through that prior investment, the Boys & Girls Clubs provided more than 21,000 youth with intensive academic enrichment and tutoring to get back on track after the learning disruptions caused by the pandemic. Among those who participated in the programs, more than 86 percent improved test scores in Math & English Language Arts; 94 percent of 5th-to-12th graders were on grade level for the 2021-22 school year, and 100 percent of high school seniors applied to trade school, military or postsecondary education institutions.

Georgia Alliance of YMCAs – $2 million
Governor Kemp is investing these funds in the YMCA’s Learning Loss Program through Y facilities across the state, which will facilitate learning recovery in an engaging and student-centric approach that incorporates technology and E-games.

These funds will go toward:

A learning loss startup program for 6 YMCAs, serving approximately 500 children, to better meet community needs.
Learning loss materials for 11 YMCAs to serve approximately 11,000 children. Supplied items will include backpacks, tablets, teaching supplies, workbooks, and toolkits.
The Y has developed an E-sports program with an emphasis on learning loss. E-sports allows kids to become part of a team, provides peer-to-peer learning, and develops strong critical thinking skills. The E-Sports learning loss program startup will operate in 6 YMCAs and serve approximately 300 children.

Georgia Department of Education – $9.1 million

Special Needs Teaching Resources (an estimated $6.5 million):
Students with special needs were particularly impacted by the pandemic’s disruptions to schooling, and they often require more services and resources to obtain a quality education. These funds will help teachers and paraprofessionals of special needs learners buy more materials to support improved school performance.

Special Needs Equipment Grant for Georgia’s State Schools (~$900,000):
This grant will address equipment needs for Georgia’s state schools that service the blind and deaf communities, including the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Georgia School for the Deaf, and Georgia Academy for the Blind. These funds will provide support for instructional technology and materials as educators prepare classrooms to better address pandemic-related learning loss in this special needs student population.

Hearing/Vision Loss for Infants and Elementary-aged Students ($1.7 million):
Infants and elementary school students in Georgia receive regular hearing and vision tests in public schools, but during the pandemic, these tests were discontinued. As a result, some of Georgia’s students are struggling to keep up academically without the ability to hear or see their teachers and learning materials properly. We know that there has been a 40 percent decrease in hearing and vision screenings for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries aged 0-18 over the past two years, alone. Governor Kemp is therefore allotting these funds to:

Train and equip schools within the Okefenokee and Pioneer Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) for mass hearing and vision screenings.
Improve diagnosis of hearing loss among infants who missed hearing and vision screenings during the pandemic.

Department of Early Care and Learning – up to $12 million
As students and teachers continue to work hard to make up for any learning loss created by the pandemic’s disruptions, Governor Kemp is awarding up to $12 million for the Department of Early Care and Learning’s (DECAL) Summer Transition Program that will be active in the summer of 2023.

DECAL offers two types of Summer Transition Programs which operate during the months of June and July. Each program offers high-quality instruction with a focus on language, literacy, and math and are designed to reduce the achievement gap. Of the two programs, one is designed specifically for students whose home language is Spanish. These funds will help ensure those just beginning their learning careers will not be impeded by the lingering academic disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Georgia Public Library Service – $2.3 million
Governor Kemp is awarding these funds in the form of Library Grants, administered by the Georgia Public Library Service, to replenish the connectivity and remote learning devices in public libraries throughout the state. These funds will further connect students to academic resources that might not otherwise be available as they endeavor to accelerate learning achievement.

About the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This Act provides funding to supplement the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund awarded to each state under the previous CARES Act. Additionally, this Act provided for the transfer of remaining Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools (EANS) funding to the Governor’s Office for designation of allowable use under GEER requirements. GEER funding is awarded for the purpose of providing local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other education-related entities with emergency assistance in response to COVID-19. The total of additional funding available to award is $59.7 million.

The funds were made available for these permissible uses. More about the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund can be found here. Previous awards can be found here.