2020 | Schools

MCPS set to receive $34.4M in federal grants for broadband access, tutoring, technology program

Funds will help ensure students have adequate technology access for virtual learning

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Roughly $34.4 million in federal funding is set to go to the Montgomery County Public Schools to ensure that students have enough access to internet and technology, as well as tutoring.

The funds are being provided through the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and will be announced at the County Council’s meeting on Tuesday.

Public hearings and votes to approve the funds for the school system will be on Sept. 29 .

The school system began its fall semester on Aug. 31 and is hosting virtual learning because of the pandemic.

Of the federal aid, more than $18.3 million will be used for technology-related learning, including providing a computer or device and internet access to each MCPS student.

In a memo sent to the council on Sept. 8, County Executive Marc Elrich wrote the new equipment will “aid students’ distance learning, especially those that do not currently have access to the internet or a device on which to participate in classes and complete homework or research.”

MCPS is also set to receive more than $1.7 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund Grant — another fund supported by the federal government — for the same purpose.

The CARES Act is also providing more than $13.2 million for a tutoring program that will offer online tutoring to MCPS students.

According to a council staff report on the funds, the tutoring will be provided to students to “recover reading and mathematics skill deficiencies from the lack of direct instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Another roughly $1.1 million will be used to purchase cellular hotspots and service for students who need reliable internet connections or help in covering the monthly cost of the service.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.