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NCC Executive Meyer wants to target learning loss with COVID relief funds


New Castle County executive Matt Meyer is seeking to direct COVID-19 relief funds to critical needs in the county.


With a little over $100 million expected in funds from the American Relief Act, New Castle County is figuring out where that money should go over the next few years.


Meyer is proposing at least some to go towards addressing the learning loss caused by the pandemic.


He says learning loss is one of the most critical issues created by the pandemic, compounded by the equity concerns that come with it.


“It happened in such an unequal, disparate and discriminatory way where you have certain communities of color, certain lower income communities where there’s really been educational devastation the past year,” he said. “Very few students have been having anything resembling a constructive educational experience, and so we want to put resources there right away to address that.”


The half a million dollars Meyer is proposing New Castle County Council allocate would focus on summer school programs across the county’s school districts, and supplement funds cities and school districts get themselves.


To figure out what to do with the rest of the funds, Meyer is forming a task force to identify potential investments for the county. 


Meyer wants to distribute it using the same approach it took spending money it received last year.


“The first thing we did a year ago was outline some principles, outlined some things we cared about, and we put together community committees that involve county council members, involve members of my team and also involve certain people from the community,” Meyer said.


Those committees are focused on four aspects: Economic and community development, early learning, workforce development and inter-governmental collaboration.


Meyer says another committee, audit and compliance, ensures the funds go where they’re supposed to go, and are accounted for as they’re spent.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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