A new statewide program will give Kansas families $1,000 in grants to combat learning loss, Gov. Laura Kelly’s office announced Tuesday.
The Kansas Education Enrichment Program, when fully implemented, will award eligible families with a one-time $1,000 per student award intended to help pay for educational goods and services such as tutoring and school supplies, as part of an effort to reclaim learning opportunities lost during the pandemic.
“With KEEP, we are enabling Kansas students to access the resources and support they need to improve in the classroom. I look forward to families having access to these funds soon,” Kelly said in a statement. “In the meantime, I invite all Kansas businesses that provide educational services to join the KEEP Marketplace and help our students live healthier lives. better potential.”
Kelly was one of the first governors in the nation to order school closures nearly three years ago at the start of the pandemic in the US
While the closures are credited with helping stop the spread of the disease and were later reversed or continued locally, Kansas’ academic achievements suffered in subsequent years, especially as students sought to learn via remote or remote teaching methods. hybrids.
Moreover:Kansas national reading, math scores drop to some of the lowest on record
The funding for KEEP comes from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund’s Kansas share of the American Rescue Plan Act. A group of state lawmakers in December 2021 approved the creation of a $50 million program to address learning loss for low-income families and Kelly had been criticized for failing to act sooner to establish such a programme.
“It’s actually a shame because there are third-party entities that are very well versed in this,” Rep. Kristey Williams, R-Augusta and chair of the K-12 House Education Budget Committee, previously said in a statement. about Kelly’s delay.
A similar $17.3 program in Oklahoma came under federal and legal scrutiny last year after an investigation found that the program’s grants had been allocated to non-educational expenses such as smartphones, televisions, video game consoles and trees Christmas. The Kansas program will specifically prevent such purchases.
Application for the Kansas KEEP Learning Loss Award opens Feb. 22
Only Kansas families whose household income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level will initially be eligible for KEEP grants. This generally means that students who are also eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will be eligible.
If the funding remains after that initial wave, application would become open to families at 300% of the federal poverty level. A final round of awards would be open to any family if funds remain available.
Families will receive awards of $1,000 for each student, if eligible.
Applications are open starting February 22 at keep.ks.gov.
Kansas families can use KEEP Learning Loss Awards on tutoring, day camps, and school supplies
According to the program’s website, families receiving KEEP awards will be able to use them for eligible academic expenses and educational enrichment, such as day camps with academic or subject-specific focuses, language classes, and tutoring.
Families will also be able to purchase educational and teaching materials, including some technological devices. Musical instruments and lessons are also eligible.
Once the program is launched, families will be able to submit expenses for reimbursement and check their premium balance using an online dashboard.
Some expenses, such as tuition, smartphones, sporting goods, field trip fees, and admission to museums and other venues, are prohibited by the program.
The state will later launch a KEEP online marketplace with a list of eligible expenses and services from qualified education service providers. Businesses and organizations interested in becoming Qualified Education Service Providers can apply now at keep.ks.gov/qesp.
Rafael Garcia is an educational reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 785-289-5325. Follow him on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.