AUSTIN – Today, a group of education-focused organizations submitted a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Commissioner of Education Mike Morath providing recommendations for how funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act can be utilized to support students and their families.

“Texas has led the nation by quickly adjusting and implementing flexible and innovative solutions to the unprecedented educational challenges arising from school closures,” said Stephanie Matthews, senior campaign director of the Next Generation Texas campaign at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “We can continue to be a guiding light and beacon of hope by putting resources and options directly into the hands of hardworking families.”

The letter recommends four legally authorized ways to utilize the CARES Act funding that best benefits Texas students:

  1. Special Education: The state of Texas should provide grants to special needs students, both those in public school and those enrolled in private education, to access services over the summer so that all students can be back on track before schools reopen in the fall. The grants could cover educational therapy, tutoring services, curriculum, and instruction from public and private providers.
  2. Connectivity: The state of Texas should provide connectivity grants to our neediest families to make sure that their children can continue to stay connected to their public or private school for online learning.
  3. Virtual Education: Texas must overhaul and expand its statewide infrastructure to continue remote or blended student learning effectively in the upcoming school year. This would include investing the necessary resources to rebuild the TXVSN platform and staff, expediting virtual course development and approval, providing teacher professional development as they learn how to effectively provide remote instruction, and assisting schools in solving problems of student access.
  4. Equitable Distribution: The economic downturn has hit Texas private schools extremely hard as these schools’ funds are based on tuition payments and philanthropy. Private school closures would inevitably put additional students in public schools at taxpayers’ expense, driving up public school enrollment just as the state heads toward tight budget years. The best way to prevent this compounded effect of the pandemic is to make grants to nonprofit scholarship organizations that can in turn provide scholarships to the lower-income students attending private schools that are at risk of closing.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Federation for Children, Texas Private Schools Association, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, Texas Home School Coalition Association, Ed Choice, ACE Scholarships, Families Empowered, National Coalition for Public School Options Texas Chapter, and Reason Foundation signed on to the letter.

To read the letter in full, please visit:

https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2020/05/13165318/Letter-to-Gov.-Abbott-Commissioner-Morath-CARES-Act-Funding.pdf