McMaster reallocates relief funds to benefit state education programs

McMaster reallocates relief funds to benefit state education programs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster has reallocated federal relief dollars to three educational efforts in South Carolina.

GEER funds, provided to states through the CARES Act, are to be allocated by the governor to state educational agencies and programs adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After McMaster’s attempt to create tuition grants for private school was blocked by the South Carolina Supreme Court, the governor had to find another use for the money.

Tuesday, he said $19.9 million would go to several agencies: the Department of Social Services (DSS), the South Carolina Technical College System, the Office of First Steps, and the Department of Education.

“Through this pandemic, South Carolina has remained a place of enormous opportunity, and we must continue to work to create these opportunities for our children and those seeking employment,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “These targeted grants will train thousands of South Carolinians for high-demand jobs and provide the groundwork for our next generation to excel in the workplace.”

The breakdown of money is as follows:

  • Nearly $5 million will go to DSS for education and tutoring programs for foster children and those in group homes. Specifically, the money will fund the following:
    • Purchase and deploy electronic devices to group home settings at $225,000;
    • Increase bandwidth for the 74 group homes at $88,800;
    • Provide tutoring services for children and youth in group home settings at $4,320,000; and
    • Fund special education services for children and youth with disabilities in group home settings at $280,000.
  • $8 million will go to job training for 3,100 adults through the South Carolina Technical College system in the following areas: Health care, Computer Technology & Information Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Distribution & Logistics, and Criminal Justice & Corrections.
  • $7 million will go to in-person, full-day early childhood education programs for 4-year-olds (4K) who qualify for Medicaid in 61 school districts in the state.

McMaster said the money for early childhood education will help prepare children for kindergarten.

“Kindergarten readiness is one of the most important predictors of a child’s success in school,” he said in a press release. “Children in poverty who attended full-day 4K programs were more likely to enter kindergarten ready to learn than their peers who did not have access to quality, full-day programs.”

The governor said enrollment in these programs has dropped dramatically during the pandemic, and he hopes these funds will help counteract that.

Watch the full announcement in the video at the top of this story.

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