(The Center Square) – Wisconsin classrooms have been empty for nearly a month, but money from the state continues to pour into schools. 

The state’s Department of Public Instruction on Wednesday announced an additional $5.25 million for distance learning is now on its way to schools across the state. 

“These special funds offer immediate assistance to Wisconsin students during this unprecedented time,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “This aid, along with the annual Common School Fund allocation, directly addresses Wisconsin’s digital divide and will help meet students’ remote learning needs.”

The normal annual payout is also on its way out the door. That will send $38.2 million to Wisconsin schools. 

DPI says that money should be distributed by May 1. Schools must spend it by June 30, even though schools have been closed since mid-March.

The announcement of the new distance learning money comes as Milwaukee Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, announced on Tuesday that it is close to beginning its distance learning program. 

High school students in Milwaukee schools will be assigned their distance learning materials this week. Middle school and elementary school students will have to wait another week to get their distance learning tools. 

MPS is also handing-out printed worksheets for families who don’t have computers or internet access. 

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday didn’t comment on when, or if, Wisconsin schools will return for the spring. 

The governor said it could be another month before he lifts his “Safer at Home” order. That’s the order that has people staying at home, has most businesses in the state closed, and is keeping kids from returning to school. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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