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Verify: No, schools won't lose federal funding if they go virtual

Many parents and teachers are worried schools could lose funding if districts choose to only teach remotely in the fall.

ATLANTA — With more schools choosing to start with all virtual learning this fall, we have had a number of you ask - what happens to their funding?

Do the school districts lose federal money if they choose to educate online versus in person?

11Alive is Where Atlanta Speaks, so we wanted to verify.

QUESTION

Will schools lose federal funding if they choose virtual learning?

ANSWER

This is FALSE. 

EXPLANATION

President Donald Trump has been adamant, he believes schools should open in person in the fall. He was backed up by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who said anything less than in classroom education would be a failure. 

RELATED: DeVos says schools shouldn't get federal funds if they don't reopen in the fall

But here in Georgia, dozens of districts are opting not to go back to the classroom - at least for the first semester of classes. 

So could that decision impact their funding?

We have heard from parents and teachers worried that schools could lose money by only offering virtual classes, so we went right to the source. 

RELATED: COVID-19 classroom concerns | Here are answers to your questions

11Alive checked with the communications departments of Forsyth, Cherokee, and Dekalb Counties and they all told 11Alive, no, their funding will not change based on how many students are in front of a computer versus on campus. 

According to the US Department of Education, federal funds for schools are appropriated through Congress, not the President or the Department of Education, so those funds could not be withheld. 

So we can verify that the concern over schools losing funding for choosing virtual learning is FALSE

However, if families decide to pull their students out of the school district and enroll them in a cyber home school program not affiliated with the school, then the district would lose funding for that specific student. 

SOURCES 

US Department of Education

Cherokee County School District

DeKalb County School District

Forsyth County School District

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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