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Iowa receives $26.2 million in emergency education relief to expand broadband access

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Kim Reynoldshttps://governor.iowa.gov/about-the-governor
As Iowa’s 43rd Governor, Kim Reynolds is determined to make sure that Iowa’s success is every Iowan’s success. Whether it’s preparing Iowans for cutting-edge careers, fighting for education, improving healthcare and mental health access, or empowering our rural communities, Kim’s priorities are making a difference in all four corners of the state. Her vision keeps Iowans at the center of all decisions, especially in the area of fiscal responsibility. Kim knows that when Iowa taxpayers are able to keep more of their money, great things happen. She also believes in redemption. Kim’s justice reform initiatives carefully balance second chances with victim rights. As Governor, Kim’s strong voice for international trade, agriculture, and advanced manufacturing is opening new markets and maintaining relationships with leaders in China, Mexico, Canada, Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Germany, Brazil and Argentina, to name just a few. Although she’s traveled the world telling Iowa’s story, Kim is still a small-town girl at heart with common-sense values. These principles are reflected in the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa initiative and Future Ready Iowa. At age 57, Kim earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University. Then, nearly two years later, on Nov. 4, 2018, she was elected by Iowans to become their first woman Governor. Family means everything to Kim and her husband, Kevin. They have three daughters (Jennifer, Nicole and Jessica) who are happily married, and Kim and Kevin love spending time with their 10 very active grandchildren.

This content provided by the Office of the Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds as a press release.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education today announced the state has received $26.2 million in federal relief to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Iowa’s grant is part of the nearly $3 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The GEER fund allows governors to determine how to best meet the needs of students in public and non-public schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations.

Better enabling remote learning for K-12 and postsecondary students is the goal of Iowa’s GEER application. It focuses on providing and expanding broadband access and improving access to technology in other ways. That could include providing Wi-Fi hotspots and devices. Funding also may be used to offer professional development related to remote learning to educators in school districts and non-public schools as well as in public and private colleges and universities. 

“Rapidly expanding and improving broadband access is essential for our state’s future,” said Gov. Reynolds. “As we have seen with a pandemic and an ever-changing economy, learning must continue beyond the classroom. These resources will equip Iowa schools and educators to pave a pathway for student success in the growing digital classroom and future workplace.”

“Superintendents told us better connectivity is what they need most to provide high-quality learning for all students during the pandemic,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “We have students without access to the technology they need and Iowa’s GEER grant is an important step toward solving that problem. I am so proud of the work school leaders and teachers are doing, and that we can help support it in this way.”

The Iowa Department of Education in collaboration with the State Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is conducting a statewide survey regarding barriers Iowans face to remote learning, including broadband access. The household survey targets families with K-12 students but also asks about college students. The intent is to prioritize areas of the state with the greatest need based on the survey results.

These GEER funds are in addition to the $71.6 million Iowa received in federal relief for PK-12 schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund within the CARES Act.

The Iowa Department of Education will provide more information soon about how the GEER funding will be allocated.

This content provided by the Office of the Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds as a press release.

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