Greater Johnstown and Portage Area school districts are receiving additional coronavirus aid money, according to a release from the office of state Rep. Frank Burns, D-East Taylor Township.

The Tuesday announcement is the latest in more than $400,000 that has been awarded to local schools to assist in the preparation of the upcoming year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Portage is slated to receive $28,756 and Johnstown will get $78,949.

“This funding will ensure school districts are prepared to meet the needs of all children, especially those who may need additional support. I’m committed to making sure our kids have the resources and support they need, especially during these difficult times,” Burns said in the release.

What local districts received is part of $17 million that will be distributed to 220 education agencies around the state through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

It’s estimated to benefit around 180,000 students at schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, according to a release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

“Recognizing that COVID-19 response efforts, including building closures, are likely to exacerbate outcome gaps for historically underserved students, schools and intermediate units are encouraged to use these additional funds to accelerate efforts to engage local stakeholders and implement appropriate, evidence-based improvement strategies,” state education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said in a statement.

These grants were awarded based on the federal Title I, Part A formula, including the number of economically disadvantaged students and other school enrollment data.

To date, Wolf has awarded nearly $90 million in relief funds to Pennsylvania education agencies including K-12 schools, career and technical education centers, postsecondary institutions and preschool early intervention programs.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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