WEST CHESTER (August 20, 2020) – Chester County school districts and charter schools will receive more than $695 million in funding to support education services for students with special needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, state Senator Andy Dinniman announced today.

“As many students plan to begin this school year virtually or with hybrid instruction, one of our top concerns continues to be those with special needs,” Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “Students with special needs often require additional support and services and their learning has been significantly impacted by the abrupt closure of schools, the shift to remote learning, and cancellation of after-school and summer programs. I hope these funds will bolster the resources they need during these challenging times.”

The grants will provide education services for students with special needs who may have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts and may face additional challenges through the new academic year. They are as follows:

  • $5,000 for 21st Century Cyber Charter School.
  • $37,355 for the Avon Grove School District.
  • $5,000 for the Avon Grove Charter School.
  • $163,629 for the Coatesville Area School District.
  • $1,000 for the Chester County Family Academy.
  • $5,000 for Collegium Charter School.
  • $35,858 for the Downingtown Area School District.
  • $45,459 for the Great Valley School District.
  • $24,802 for the Kennett Consolidated School District.
  • $33,744 for the Octorara Area School District.
  • $62,898 for the Oxford Area School District.
  • $40,112 for the Phoenixville Area School District.
  • $9,211 for the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.
  • $5,000 for the Renaissance Family Charter School.
  • $69.747 for the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District.
  • $49,672 for the Unionville Chadds Ford School District.
  • $101,799 for the West Chester Area School District.

The Chester County grants come as part of 678 local education agencies (LEAs) statewide awarded $15 million in total funding through the Special Education COVID-19 Impact Mitigation Grant (SECIM).

The grant program is funded by $10 million from Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, authorized by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $5 million from the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The program aims to help schools:

  • Provide enhanced synchronous (real-time) instruction to bolster remote services and supports for students with complex needs; and
  • Provide services and supports to students with disabilities who experienced a loss in skills and behavior and/or a lack of progress due to the mandatory school closures

An additional $5 million in GEER grant funding will be available to Preschool Early Intervention programs to provide compensatory educational services.

“While LEAs transition to implementing reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year, they continue to face challenges in delivering free appropriate public education (FAPE) and providing services to students with disabilities,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “This critical funding will help schools as they work with their students with special needs to rebuild skills and behaviors that were diminished during the COVID-19 shutdown.”

Grant amounts were calculated using an allocation formula based on the number of students with complex special education needs within each LEA. Distribution of funds to Preschool early intervention programs will be made based on identified needs.

A full list of grant recipients across the state is available here. Recipients will receive information from PDE on application instructions through eGrants.