WHAT IS THE CARES Act?
The CARES Act, short for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020. It provides funding for school districts facing the increased costs of shifting to online learning and managing the coronavirus-related health and safety issues.
In short, the CARES Act provides funding that will allow states, and thus public school districts, to respond to challenges they find themselves facing due to the COVID-19 emergency.
WHAT DO THE SCHOOLS GET?
The economic aid package directs billions in federal funding to K-12 schools, and also provides states and schools the ability to request waivers of certaing federal mandates from U.S Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Moffat Miller said “this package provides historic levels of emergency funding” and the prospect of “much-needed resources.”
HOW MUCH MONEY IS BEING ALLOCATED?
The Act includes $13.5 billion for public schools in K-12 formula grants via an Education Stabilization Fund.
The funds are distributed to states based on their share of ESEA Title I-A funds. At least 90 percent of the funds will be distributed by the state education agencies to school districts based on their share of the Title 1-A funds.
An additional $3 billion would be for the Governor’s Education Relief Fund to use as they determine to help K-12 schools (and higher Ed.) as they deal with the negative ramifications of Covid-19.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS USE THE FUNDS FOR?
Schools can use the money they receive to support a number of learning needs under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and other federal education laws, including remote learning if schools are closed.
The funds can also be used to purchase educational technology in the direct support of online/remote learning.
Schools can also seek waivers from a Title IV provision which caps the overall amount of money that can be spent on internet-connected devices.
SOME ADDITIONAL NOTES
The CARES Act grants authority to Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, to waive states and school’s assessment an accountability requirements. (DeVos has allowed states to seek waivers from standardized testing.)
States and schools can also ask for waivers from several funding requirements about the amount they spend year-over-year.
School districts can use a larger portion of Title-IV grants to purchase devices. Previously, only 15% of Title IV-A funds could be used to purchase technology infrastructure. This limit is lifted under the CARES Act.
RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
The above is a very brief summary the allocation of funding for K-12 schools under the new CARES Act. Below are additional resources you may find useful.
updated link: read inside to learn how much your state receives as part of an additional $3 billion in funding https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-announces-3-billion-emergency-education-block-grants-governors
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