Merkley, Wyden Announce Key Resources for K-12, Higher Education Institutions in Oregon

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that $153.5 million in funding will be distributed to schools throughout Oregon, as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was approved by Congress last month.

“Every student—regardless of the color of their skin, their zip code, or their parents’ income—deserves a shot at a great education,” said Merkley. “We can’t let the coronavirus pandemic jeopardize our children’s futures, which means we have to make sure our K-12 schools, colleges, and universities have the resources they need to continue to support students during this pandemic. I’m pleased that this funding will help make that possible, and I’m going to keep fighting for additional resources for our schools and students in upcoming emergency relief legislation.”

“Oregon students in elementary and middle school all the way up through high school and higher ed need every ounce of help during this public health crisis to ensure their education remains robust statewide,” Wyden said.  “I’m glad these resources are heading to Oregon, but more clearly needs to be done and I won’t stop battling to get our state’s schools and the students who count on them what’s essential for a quality education.”

The funding includes $32.5 million for the Governor’s Fund in Oregon, which will provide emergency support to K-12, higher education, and educational entities in Oregon that the governor determines were most significantly impacted by the coronavirus. The funds will be used to help schools continue to provide instruction to their students through distance learning, and also support schools’ general functionality.

In addition, $121 million is going to Oregon from the Elementary and Secondary School Fund, which will help schools:

  • work to coordinate their preparedness and response to coronavirus;
  • provide principals with resources to meet individual school needs;
  • provide activities to address unique needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, foster youth, including outreach and service delivery to meet needs of these populations;
  • improve preparedness and response, including training on sanitization to minimize spread of infectious diseases;
  • purchase supplies to sanitize and clean school facilities or buildings;
  • plan for long-term closures, including how to provide meals to students and provide technology for online learning;
  • meet IDEA requirements;
  • purchase educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) including to provide technology to low-income students and students with disabilities who may require assistive technology or adaptive equipment;
  • provide mental health services and support;
  • offer summer learning and supplemental education; and
  • fund other activities that are necessary to maintain operation of services and continuing to employ staff.