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Courtney Announces More Than $1.2 Million in New Federal Relief Funding for Norwich Free Academy and Woodstock Academy

April 30, 2021
Press Release
H.R. 133 and the American Rescue Plan are continuing to deliver support to eastern Connecticut

NORWICH, CT—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) welcomed confirmation from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) that new federal relief funds are being made available for Connecticut’s endowed academies, including two eastern schools that were excluded from the previous two rounds of federal assistance. In a response letter to Rep. Courtney, the CSDE confirmed that Woodstock Academy and Norwich Free Academy will receive more than $1.2 million in combined support through the state of Connecticut’s new allotment of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II program funding. Norwich Free Academy will receive $807,680 in ESSER II support, and Woodstock Academy will receive $397,186. The program is funded by H.R. 133, which Rep. Courtney helped pass in December.

“Norwich Free Academy and Woodstock Academy are where thousands of kids in our region go to learn each day, and it’s great to see them getting the support the need through the American Rescue Plan,” said Congressman Courtney. “Many of our non-public schools have been up against the same sort of challenges as all of our local schools during this pandemic. While they’ve joined everyone in taking on the totally unforeseen costs it’s taken to adapt and keep people safe, they’ve been boxed out of several rounds of recent federal assistance for schools, students, and teachers. H.R. 133 and the American Rescue Plan were designed to respond to a broad set of challenges we’ve got to tackle to keep our recovery going strong, and I’m glad to see that Secretary McCaw and CSDE are working hard to utilize these federal resources to make sure they reach all of our local schools who need them.”

Although Connecticut’s three endowed academies are considered “local education agencies” by the CSDE for the purpose of reporting to the federal government, they do not receive Title I funding. This rendered them ineligible to receive relief from the second and third rounds of ESSER funding through the CARES Act and H.R. 133. On March 23rd, Courtney wrote to Connecticut Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw requesting more information on the State’s plan to provide relief to endowed academies.

“What funding source will be sued to provide relief to the endowed academies?” Courtney wrote. “Like public schools that have continually received ESSER funds through the federal relief bills (CARES Act, H.R. 133, and the American Rescue Plan), these institutions have also experienced increased financial impact as they purchased PPE and incurred other COVID-19 expenses necessary to keep their students and staff safe.” To read Courtney’s full letter, click here.

In a response to Rep. Courtney, Secretary McCaw confirmed that CSDE has committed to provide new federal funding to Connecticut’s endowed academies through resources set aside in the State’s ESSER II program funding, which were provided by H.R. 133. Norwich Free Academy will receive $807,680 in ESSER II support, and Woodstock Academy will receive $397,186. The Gilbert School, an endowed academy located in Winsted, will receive $154,329 in ESSER II funding.

“While the endowed academies are not eligible for a formula grant under ESSER II, as they do not receive Title I funding, they are the designated public middle/high school for 3,840 Connecticut resident students,” wrote Secretary McCaw. “The endowed academies are considered Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for these students […]. Therefore, the Department felt it was important to ensure the schools had resources to support whichever method of learning (in-person, hybrid, remote) they needed to implement in response to the pandemic.” To read Secretary McCaw’s full response, click here.