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PM NewsBrief: July 18, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday July 18th, 2022.

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, July 18, 2022.

How much federal COVID relief money schools have spent

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, public schools have received a windfall of federal funding. But they’ve only spent a fraction of what they’ve been given.

Federal COVID relief funds have come in three waves worth $ 2.1 billion dollars total for Oklahoma schools.

But only about half has been spent so far.

The reasons are numerous per the Oklahoma State Department of Education: supply chain issues and construction delays have delayed spending, which is given to districts through reimbursements.

The uneven spending of funds is reflected across the country, according to a national analysis put together by Georgetown University.

Besides, the deadline for spending federal money isn’t for two years: Schools districts must spend down their federal COVID relief funds by September 2024.

International Olympic Committee reinstates Jim Thorpe

The International Olympic Committee voted Friday that Oklahoman Jim Thorpe will be the sole winner of his medals from the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm Sweden.

Thorpe was the first Native American to win a gold medal in the decathlon and pentathlon. But, when the Olympic committee found out he played minor league baseball two years before the events, he was stripped of the medals because the Olympics are supposed to be for amateur athletes.

Nearly 30 years after his death, the medals were reinstated, and Thorpe was listed as the co-champion. But Friday, the committee fully reinstated the medals, and he is listed as the sole winner of the 1912 Olympic medals for the decathlon and pentathlon.

Thorpe whose name was Bright Path was a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation and grew up in north central Oklahoma. He was an extraordinary athlete and played football at Carlisle Indian boarding school before playing Major League Baseball and in the National Football League.

OCCC has wiped out almost $4 million in student debts

Oklahoma City Community College announced it cleared the debts of approximately 4,500 students. The move is part of the college’s Fresh Start Initiative and was worth almost $4 million.

The college announced the debts were accrued by students during the coronavirus pandemic, and the funding comes from federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The goal of wiping out debt is to help students and their families and to get rid of holds on their bursar accounts so they can strive for educational goals that might have been stalled because of financial hardship.

“The pandemic affected our students and their families in various ways, and we recognize that many are still facing hardships in the aftermath,” college President Mautra Staley Jones said. “OCCC is an institution of new beginnings, and this initiative truly gives our students a fresh start. We hope this clears the way for them to continue their educational journey in the fall.”

Colleges across the country - including at Tulsa Community College and Langston University here in Oklahoma - have taken similar steps to help students with COVID relief funds.

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