Flexibility for federal funding approved for Virginia schools



RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has approved Virginia’s application for flexibility for the use of federal education money, which otherwise would have had to be paid back due to school closures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Virginia Department of Education (VDEO) Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane submitted Virginia’s request for a waiver on April 5 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The waivers grant flexibility from laws that say how and when federal education money must be spent, according to a VDEO news release.

The USDOE granted preliminary approval for the waiver within two hours of Lane’s application. Virginia will be able to implement the waivers when they are formally approved.

The waivers grant flexibility for how much unspent federal money school divisions can carry over from one fiscal year to the next, and how much federal money schools can use to buy technology and support professional development for educators, according to a news release.

“Without this flexibility, Virginia school divisions would have had to return millions of dollars in federal funding — most of it supporting programs serving vulnerable students — that they were unable to spend by September 30 due to the closure of schools to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Lane said. “These waivers will also allow divisions and the Virginia Department of Education to shift federal resources to supporting the technology and professional development for teachers necessary to expand distance-learning opportunities for all students.”

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