Leadership from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) met virtually on March 24 with superintendents of districts impacted by the Dec. 10 and 11 tornados to encourage the districts to continue to request aid from the West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies (SAFE) fund.
Through House Bill 5, the state legislature provided $200 million to support districts, local governments and other agencies affected by the December 2021 storms and tornadoes. The bill appropriated $30 million to local school districts. The money may provide wraparound services, such as tutoring and mental health supports for students and families, and assistance with additional transportation costs. In addition, KDE can transfer a portion of the $30 million to the state School Facilities Construction Commission to help repair damaged school buildings.
KDE created a simple application for districts to submit their needs under the permissible uses of the funds. Districts can access the application on the KDE’s State Grants webpage. Requests for funding should cover anticipated expenses through June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
So far, the department has received seven applications with nearly $7 million in requested funds.
KDE Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney reminded superintendents that there are two steps to request funds – the application process and a request for cash reimbursement after the application is approved.
“If you are a district having difficulty with cash flow … we have put a section on the application where you can share that with us so we can advance funds,” she said.
Kinney also encouraged districts to apply for the Department of Military Affairs funds because it can be used for a wider range of needs. She said the Military Affairs funding may be available to help districts with anticipated loss of revenue, which has been a concern among some superintendents due to the damage suffered by local businesses and property owners. Any questions and applications for Military Affairs consideration may be sent to email@example.com.
Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass briefly shared about his visit to western Kentucky on March 1 and 2 to meet with superintendents and community members in tornado-impacted districts. Glass and KDE staff visited schools in Hopkins County, Dawson Springs Independent, Mayfield Independent, Graves County and Murray Independent.
Following his visits, Glass said he was “inspired by the stories of hope and perseverance from our Kentucky school districts following the December storms.”
“We will continue to support the impacted districts in their recovery efforts. At KDE, we have to stay engaged for the long haul, along with the Kentucky Board of Education, to provide these districts with support,” he said.