State Finance Council Approves $374 Million in COVID-19 Relief Funds


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TOPEKA – Today the State Finance Council approved a total of $374 million in COVID-19 relief funds for broadband infrastructure and adoption, the modernization and improvement of government services, economic development, and health and education initiatives recommended by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee.

“The funding approved today will accelerate the work my administration is doing to expand broadband, attract new businesses and create jobs, and strengthen the state’s information security,” Governor Kelly said. “I want to thank the bipartisan State Finance Council and everyone who participated in the SPARK process for helping ensure these relief dollars are invested as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

The SPARK Executive Committee met on December 20 to consider program design proposals for COVID-19 relief funding recommended by the committee in September. The Executive Committee reviewed the proposals and recommended programming to distribute $374 million in federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Kansas through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of March 2021.

“The programs approved today will make catalytic investments in critical areas of need that will position Kansas for future success,” Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman said. “From broadband to economic development these programs will provide funding to Kansas communities that will be impactful for years to come.”

The portfolio of approved funding includes investments in competitive grant programs in the four SPARK Advisory Panel areas: Connectivity, Efficiency and Modernization, Health and Education, and Economic Revitalization.

An overview of approved programming is available on the Office of Recovery’s website.

“I’m thrilled that the program details are finalized and these dollars can begin flowing to Kansas communities and businesses,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “The competitive opportunities available will be transformative for the Kansas economy and substantively improve the quality of life for all Kansans. I commend the Executive Committee and Advisory Panel members for their diligent work in shaping the recommendations approved today and helping put Kansas on a path to future success.”

Additional details on these competitive grant programs will be forthcoming from administering agencies by the end of February.

For more information about ARPA, the SPARK Executive Committee, or the Office of Recovery, please visit https://covid.ks.gov.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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