(March 22, 2021 – Washington, DC) – Today, Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi received a call from the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona informing him that he sent a letter approving his request to immediately access funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) has been granted. On March 5, 2021, Governor Pedro Pierluisi sent a letter to Secretary Cardona requesting immediate access to CARES Act funding to provide much-needed resources for students in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has provided Puerto Rico access to $912 million in Federal education funds.
These funds include $390 million under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER I). Additionally, it includes funds under Title A, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act both totaling $522 million. The letter acknowledges the Governor’s efforts to implement greater accountability for the use of these federal funds and stresses the need to continue providing the necessary support to Puerto Rico as the island continues to recover.
“Today marks another milestone in our progress as we continue to provide our students the necessary resources for in-person learning and our teachers the means to provide instructional time and safely reopen our schools. Our students have been through too much, from the 2017 hurricanes to the earthquakes to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they deserve a semblance of normalcy. These resources will provide funds to meet the needs of students on the island.” said Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi.
“On behalf of our children, teachers, and the parents of Puerto Rico, I thank Secretary Miguel Cardona for his commitment to support Puerto Rico and President Biden for swiftly providing Puerto Rico access to federal funding. I look forward to continuing collaborating with USDE and working for our children,” concluded Governor Pierluisi.
“As the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico faces the challenges of the Pandemic and continues to recover from the hurricanes and the more recent earthquakes, the Department understands the urgency to access vital Federal education funds to meet the needs of Puerto Rican students who are experiencing compounded trauma,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“The Department is committed to partnering with and supporting Puerto Rico in the efficient and effective use of Department funds to serve Puerto Rico’s students, including to safely reopen schools and maximize in-person instructional time,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“The Pierluisi Administration is committed to providing our students, families, and teachers across the island access to the much-needed resources so that they might receive a quality education as Puerto Rico continues to recover from natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. PRFAA will continue to work with Federal agencies and the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of our students,” said PRFAA’s Executive Director Carmen M. Feliciano.