K-12 Funding Basics: Understanding COVID-19 Relief Funding

As COVID-19 has continued to create challenges for education, the United States Government has given additional funding to schools to help them meet the needs of their students in these unprecedented times. While there is still a long way to go, these funds are helping schools stay connected with their students, and can be used in a variety of ways to help schools as they navigate this landscape and transition students safely back to the classroom.

The American Rescue Act

The American Rescue Act was proposed by President Joe Biden and currently about $130 billion to support K-12 education and the safe return of students to in-person learning. the proposal includes $50 billion for schools to ensure students can safely return to school following CDC guidelines, $60 billion to prevent layoffs of educators and staff, and the additional funding should be used to build programs and acquire tools that help close the learning gap and support students who have fallen behind due to the challenges COVID-19 has presented.

Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) \

This bill was passed in December of 2020 and set aside 54.3 billion for K-12 education. This funding is being distributed through Title 1 Funding and is meant to help schools reach students and improve their online, hybrid, or in-person learning efforts. Many schools are using this to get equipment and tools to help them better support online learning, and provide resources for students and staff that may still be without the tools they need for online success.

CARES Act Funding

The CARES act was passed in March of 2020 and gave a total of 13.2 billion dollars to K-12 Schools. The funding was again distributed through Title 1 funding, but an additional 3 billion was given to Governors to distribute to schools. This

funding could be used to fund the following activities:

  1. Any activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965

2. Activities to help schools better prepare for, prevent, and respond to COVID-19

3. Resources needed to address specific needs of each school

4. Tools and activities to reach at-risk and under-served students.

5. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to prepare for future outbreaks

6. Training and professional development for staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.

7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the school

8. Planning for and coordinating required services during a long-term closure

9. Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity)

10. Providing mental health services and supports.

11. Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs

12. Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services

Sources:

https://www.ncsl.org/ncsl-in-dc/standing-committees/education/cares-act-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief-fund-tracker.aspx