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Legislative Update


NSBA federal update: K-12 provisions of COVID-19 emergency legislation

by | Mar 26, 2020 | Federal Issue, Legislative Update Blog | 0 comments

The following is from the National School Boards Association (NSBA).  The U.S. Senate voted unanimously (96 to 0) yesterday evening to pass the measure. The House is expected to vote tomorrow.

“As you have probably heard, Congressional leaders and the White House appear to have reached agreement on a $2 trillion emergency supplemental spending bill.”

“The House is considering a number of options to vote on the legislation so they would not have to come back to Washington. One of the options includes moving the legislation through unanimous consent which does not require a vote. However, if there is a single objection, then House members may have to come back to DC and vote on the measure but other options including proxy voting and a voice vote on the floor by members present are also possibilities.

“But moving forward, here is what we know right now. The legislation contains $30.750 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund to assist states, school districts, and higher education institutions for costs related to the coronavirus pandemic. $13.5 billion is targeted to K-12 public schools with the remainder going to higher education, governors, and some special set asides. In addition to allocating emergency funding, the measure includes a number of policy provisions – including some waiver authority for the Secretary of Education – to help elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions navigate the crisis. This does not include IDEA waiver authority.

“The funding level for public K-12 education is far short of the $75 billion that NSBA is calling for at the present time. However, we are advocating for a fourth supplemental package that we hope will help make up the shortfall. Additionally, the $2 billion in direct relief to help students connect to the Internet at home through the E-Rate program was not included in the legislation. NSBA is very concerned about that issue and will continue pushing for targeted funding for technology and access issues run through the E-Rate program. Additional details and a breakdown of the legislation with dollar figures and percentages of funds is below.”

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
(43.9% of ESF total after above set asides = ~ $13.5 billion)
Elementary and secondary education will receive $13.5 billion through formula-grants to States, at least 90 percent of funds of those funds must support local educational agencies to use for coronavirus-response activities, such as planning for and coordinating during long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students served by the local educational agency; and additional activities authorized by federal elementary and secondary education laws. It will be distributed to states using the ESSA Title II-A formula. The suballocations to school districts would be as follows, per the current draft of the legislation.
“SUBGRANTS TO LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES.-Each State shall allocate not less than 90 percent of the grant funds awarded to the State under this section as subgrants to local educational agencies (including charter schools that are local educational agencies) in the State in proportion to the amount of funds such local educational agencies and charter schools that are local educational agencies received under part A of title I of the ESEA of 1965 in the most recent fiscal year.”

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF)
(9.8% of ESF total after above set asides = ~ $3 billion)
Governors in each state will receive a share of $3 billion to allocate at their discretion for emergency support grants to local educational agencies that the State educational agency has identified have been most significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. These funds will support the ability of such local educational agencies to continue to provide educational services to their students and to support the on-going operations of the local educational agency; and provide emergency support through grants to institutions of higher education serving students within the State.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
(46.3% of ESF of total after above set asides = ~ $14 billion)
Higher education institutions will receive $14.250 billion in education emergency relief to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. These funds may be used to defray expenses for institutions of higher education, such as lost revenue, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, and grants to students for food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care. It will be distributed based on enrollment, heavily weighted toward the share of Pell Grant recipients.

Special set aside
Outlying areas (1/2%), Bureau of Indian Affairs (1/2%), and hardest hit states (1%)

The supplemental appropriations bill also includes $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs. This is provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rather than to the U.S. Department of Education.

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