USDE approves Oklahoma schools flexibility with current federal funds for COVID-19 response

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has granted approval of Oklahoma waivers allowing public school districts greater flexibility in the spending of existing federal funds in order to better respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Less than 24 hours after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the request, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) received notification by USDE that it had been approved.

“We are grateful to USDE for its swift response to our waiver request loosening restrictions on when and how our school districts may spend down their federal funds,” said Hofmeister. “This is a critical step in giving school leaders much-needed latitude as they face the economic uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The waivers allow schools to repurpose existing K-12 education funds for a number of COVID-19-related matters, including technology infrastructure and teacher training on distance learning.

Additional flexibilities would allow schools to redirect resources to areas of highest need.

Oklahoma districts may immediately begin implementing matters authorized under the waiver.

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