November 24, 2020
Despite initially capping the award amount at $1 million for a 16-week program serving a minimum of 10,000 Mississippi children, Gov. Tate Reeves gave nearly twice that in federal funds to a Utah-based organization serving only a fraction of the number of kids.
Waterford.org requested and received $1.9 million to provide a virtual, 20-minute-a-day computer program to 2,500 4-year-olds in Mississippi — more than twice the amount received by other schools, child care centers and education organizations that also received grants from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. These are federal relief funds for education distributed to the state through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Reeves has full discretion over the spending of that money.
The organization, in its application for the funds, obtained by Mississippi Today through a public records request, acknowledged its request exceeded the guidelines.