Claims fall far wanting $10 million Georgia particular schooling fund
ATLANTA (AP) – Just days ahead of a reimbursement deadline, state officials say parents of children with special educational needs claimed just a fraction of the $ 10.1 million state coronavirus aid grant Governor Brian Kemp received Provided for reimbursement has pandemic-related expenses including technology and tutoring.
Wednesday is the application deadline, which has already been extended from May. People can apply online.
Georgia Department of Education director of special education and assistance Zelphine Smith-Dixon said Friday the department had received about 2,400 reimbursement requests for a total of about 2,700 students. Some parents have more than one child who is a special school student.
Parents are limited to $ 500 in reimbursements for expenses incurred on behalf of each student, but most get much less. Smith-Dixon said the department approved a refund of $ 348,000 for 800 applications processed. She said some of the parents who were approved to spend should see money deposited into their bank accounts next week.
While the department has 1,500 other applications to review, it is well on its way to approving just over $ 1 million in expenses.
“We’re not going to use all of the funding in this particular round,” said Smith-Dixon.
To qualify, a student must have an individualized education plan with a public school, including a charter school, between March 2020 and now. The money can be used to pay for computers and other technology, private tutoring or a study coach, therapy, or other expenses to support special educational needs.
Dublin’s Monique Allen, for example, said her family had been approved to get $ 500 back for their 9-year-old son who was in first grade last spring when the pandemic broke out and schools in Laurens County closed. She said her family had stepped up behavior therapy to help her son’s autism and paid her out of pocket because the increased therapy exceeded the cost of her family insurance.
Allen said she heard about the program from another parent, but said many other parents were unaware of it. She said the money made her feel like someone realized parents like her were having a tough year.
“It’s nice,” said Allen. “I feel like we’ve been left to dry out somehow.”
Smith-Dixon said Kemp, a Republican, will have to decide what to do with the rest of the money.
“What I do know is that it is still the governor’s heart on behalf of the program to use the money for what it is supposed to do, which is to help families of children with special needs during this unique time of COVID,” said Smith- said Dixon.