Today, the U.S. Department of Education furthered the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government response to the tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary School by disbursing a $1.5 million School Emergency Response to Violence (Project SERV) grant to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD). The proactive release of grant funds reflects the extraordinary and immediate needs facing UCISD and follows Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s visit to the district on May 31 and June 1, 2022.
Project SERV funds are authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and may be used for activities that help restore a sense of safety and security for the district’s students, teachers, staff, and families, and that address specific needs of those individuals directly affected by the shooting. Such activities include mental health services for staff and students, and overtime pay for teachers, counselors, and security staff, and may take place over the summer in the form of additional summer programming.
Secretary Cardona initiated the emergency funding through a letter to the district superintendent that outlines key assurances around the federal funding. In the days following the tragedy, Secretary Cardona and other Department staff communicated with UCISD leadership and their Texas Education Agency colleagues and pledged to support recovery efforts in the district and community with a range of technical assistance, including direct access to Department personnel and partners who have helped other communities respond to and recover from acts of school violence.
“No community should have to experience a tragedy like this alone. While in Texas, I saw the Uvalde community come together in deep and meaningful ways to support one another and all the families who lost loved ones; and it is our turn to support them,” said Secretary Cardona. “In the hours and days since that tragic day, we have committed to providing the Uvalde community with every available resource they may require from the Department. Today’s release of these emergency funds is an initial step that will be followed by technical assistance and on-the-ground supports in the months and years to come.”
The Department’s communication with UCISD acknowledges that the community’s needs and challenges in restoring the learning environment may change over time. Secretary Cardona committed that members of his team will provide direct support to the district in adjusting its Project SERV agreement to reflect these evolving needs. While funds may be used for a 12-month period, the Department stands ready to provide additional, longer-term assistance as requested.
The Department’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Center builds the preparedness capacity (including prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts) of schools, school districts, colleges, and their community partners at the local, state, and federal levels; and serve as the primary source of information for schools, school districts, and colleges for emergencies. The National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments offers information and technical assistance focused on improving school climate and conditions for learning.
For more information about the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitments to the Uvalde community, see the letter on the disbursed funds and Secretary Cardona’s statement immediately following the tragic events.