LIHU‘E — With the school year in full swing, Kaua‘i public schools are getting some additional support from the federal government.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced Thursday that Kaua‘i schools would receive $2.4 million to support programs aimed at educating students in low-income communities.
These funds will go toward new technology, teacher professional development, additional educators, and other academic programs.
In total, Hawai‘i schools will receive $58.2 million in funding from the grants including $36 million for Honolulu, $13.9 million for Hawai‘i County and $5.8 million for Maui County.
“These new funds will be used to hire more teachers, expand academic programs, and help more students get a quality education,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The allocations will go towards Title I schools, where a disproportionate number of students live in poverty. On Kaua‘i, a 2021 report says these schools include Waimea Canyon Middle, Kapa‘a Elementary, Ele‘ele Elementary, Koloa Elementary,Waimea High Kaumuali‘i Elementary 50% Kekaha Elementary, Wilcox Elementary and Kilauea Elementary.
In total, this is a $1.6 million increase over the previous fiscal year. For Kaua‘i, the funds represents an increase of about $100,000.
Title 1 funding is the single largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary education in the country, and schools are given a good amount of leeway in how the funding is spent.
The Hawai‘i Department of Education expects to receive these funds by Oct.1.
A smaller funding boost recently came from a source closer to home.
The Chan Zuckerberg Kaua‘i Community Fund of Hawai‘i Community Foundation announced last month that they will distribute one-time grant funding to all 15 public schools and six charter schools on Kaua‘i.
The grants are based on Title 1 designation and school size — ranging from $2,500 to $28,500.
“I am confident that these gifts will make a positive difference, especially for our most underserved families and students in Title I schools,” said Daniel Hamada, Hawai‘i Department of Education interim Kaua‘i Complex Area superintendent.
Meta billionaire Mark Zuckerberg has focused on education philanthropy since the early 2010s, when he gave $100 million to a controversial school-reform initiative in Newark, New Jersey.
The initiative focused on charter school expansion, establishing performance-based pay for teachers, and employing high-paid education consultants — to mixed results.
In 2020, the Chan Zuckerberg Community Fund gave $150,000 portion of the funding for a pilot project which aimed to improve internet accessibility for Kaua‘i students and provide training to teachers adjusting to virtual learning.
Source: The Garden Island