Federal funds to help Missouri school districts dealing with COVID pandemic; lawmakers say resources are needed

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(Missourinet)– About $76 million in federal money will be heading to Missouri’s k-12 schools, once Governor Mike Parson signs the supplemental budget bill.

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, says the $1.27 billion supplemental budget includes $75.6 million for school nutrition services.

“i.e., paying for meals in k-12 education,” Smith says. “So this is a supplement, an additional federal fund that we’re appropriating for that will go to help compensate schools for the cost of those meals.”

The $75.6 million will reimburse Missouri’s k-12 schools, for feeding students during the COVID pandemic.

Missouri lawmakers approved the supplemental budget with large bipartisan votes in both chambers. The Missouri House approved it by a 133-4 vote in November, and the Senate approved it last week on a 23-1 vote.

Chairman Smith says an additional $266,463 in federal money will also be going to Missouri’s K-12 schools. He notes state lawmakers appropriated federal grant money for the Missouri Healthy School program.

“This is to disseminate the COVID-19 guidance that comes down from the CDC, so that we can help schools administer the guidance as it is issued by the CDC,” says Smith.

The CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is good news to school superintendents across the state, who have been dealing with tight budgets because of the pandemic. Some local superintendents in northeast Missouri reached out to our Quincy affiliate WGEM on Friday, seeking information on when the money will start flowing.

Chairman Smith tells Missourinet the funding is very important to local school districts.

“We know that it’s been a tremendous challenge to try to educate our children in the face of a pandemic, and so all these resources are sorely needed across the state,” Smith says.

The largest part of the $1.27 billion supplemental budget is $764 million for the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), to help the agency respond to the ongoing pandemic. Another $23 million will go toward the community development block grant program, to support local community projects.

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