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Over $8.6 million awarded in K-12 Iowa school mental health grants

DES MOINES – Over $8.6 million in competitive grants will be awarded to 64 Iowa school districts to assist them in providing mental health support and other wraparound services to students and families.

The funds are provided through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II), which is part of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) Act passed in December 2020. Governors in each state were granted a share of discretionary dollars to address critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have to look at the whole health of every child and supporting the mental health of Iowa children and families is a top priority of mine,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This investment is not only about adapting to the challenges we face today, but it will help schools expand support systems to secure better outcomes moving forward.”

“As we prepare for a new school year it is important to remember that what happens outside of the classroom has a substantial impact on students in the classroom,” said Ann Lebo, director of the Iowa Department of Education. “These additional resources will help schools expand services to address growing social-emotional-behavioral health needs and support the overall well-being of students, including youth mental health first aid training and implementation, suicide prevention services and other programming.”

A total of 130 grant applications were received. Unless an applicant requested less, funding will be distributed equitably across awardees based on district-certified enrollment for 2020-21 school year. Applicants had to demonstrate unique student and family mental health needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority consideration was given to applicant districts proposing to provide direct mental health services to students and families.

Grants will be finalized following a 10-business-day appeal period as required by state law and distributed on a reimbursement basis. The Notice of Intent to Award letters sent to the school districts today starts the ten-business day-period in which an unsuccessful grantee may file an appeal.

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