Northam announces additional federal money for schools
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday he’s putting an additional $220 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds towards the state’s public schools.
The extra money will be used to help schools pay for testing supplies, personal protective equipment and technology needed for virtual learning, Northam said in a statement. Virginia schools are currently operating in a mishmash fashion, with some districts offering in-person instruction while others are mostly virtual.
The governor said the money would be distributed to all 135 school districts at a rate of $175 per pupil. He said every district would get a minimum of $100,000. The extra money comes on top of about $300 million in federal funds the governor has directed toward public schools during the pandemic.
The state received $3.1 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds and has roughly $1.3 billion still unallotted.
The $220 million Northam announced Thursday is $20 million more than what House lawmakers said Northam should spend on school costs in their recently proposed budget. The governor recently warned lawmakers that he won’t sign a budget that constricts his ability to spend federal relief funds.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are expected to continue working on proposed state budget next week. Both the House and the Senate have passed their respective versions of a spending plan, but have not yet agreed to a compromise version that Northam will support.
The budget process has taken much longer than many expected. The governor urged lawmakers to move quickly when they first met in a special session in August.