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Feds say Georgia school systems can use federal COVID money to help pay for fuel

(The Center Square) – Georgia school systems can use federal COVID-19 relief to help pay for fuel for their buses.

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Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods called on the federal government earlier this month to allow school districts to use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) money for fuel.

“Supporting or providing transportation services for students is an allowable use of funds under ESSER and [the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund] as long as the need is related to COVID-19 … and the cost is reasonable and necessary,” the U.S. Department of Education said, according to the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE).

A GDOE spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the maximum amount of relief funds that systems can use for fuel costs or whether there is a total estimated dollar amount systems statewide plan to use.

“It is absolutely essential that we keep schools open and learning going for our students,” Woods said in a statement. “That’s why I called on the U.S. Department of Education to ensure schools could use ESSER funds to keep buses rolling so in-person learning could continue.

“We know that in-person instruction is most effective for the vast majority of our students, and the ability to use existing ESSER funds to meet rising fuel costs will allow our school districts to continue providing learning opportunities and supporting students’ academic recovery,” Woods added.​

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

The Georgia Virtue
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