In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on schools, the U.S. Department of Education is making approximately $30.75 billion in emergency funding available to educators through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its Education Stabilization Fund. For districts dealing with shelter-at-home orders, the bill includes new funding to help provide remote education.
The CARES Act presents complexities that can be confusing to navigate, but rest assured: we’re here to make it much easier for you! Check out the information we’ve compiled here to help ensure that your school or district gets the funding you require and the digital solutions you need.
“Across the country, students, teachers and families are proving that learning can and does happen anywhere. By extending additional funding flexibility to schools, we are helping to ensure student learning continues and supporting teachers as they transition to virtual classrooms. Local leaders have asked for the ability to steer more resources to local needs, and these new tools will help them do just that.”
~ U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
The CARES Act offers three types of grants and funds related to elementary education:
- The Education Stabilization Fund-Rethink K12 Education Models Grants (housed within the Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grant) “provide support to State educational agencies (SEAs) in States with the highest coronavirus burden to address specific educational needs of students, their parents, and teachers in public and non-public elementary and secondary schools in accordance with section 18001(a)(3) of the CARES Act.”
- The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) sets aside $13.2 billion to be awarded to “State educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation.”
- The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF) provides $3 billion for grants to states “based on a formula stipulated in the legislation. (1) 60% on the basis of the State’s relative population of individuals aged 5 through 24. (2) 40% on the basis of the State’s relative number of children counted under section 1124(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).”
Schools can also repurpose existing funds to meet unexpected needs resulting from COVID-19. States may:
- Request a waiver on the 15% carryover limitation for Title I, Part A.
- Obtain an extension on availability for the prior fiscal year’s funds.
- Receive a waiver of the needs assessment, content-specific spending requirements, and spending restrictions on technology infrastructure under Title IV, Part A.
- Request a waiver of the definition of “professional development” in order to prevent limitations on the ability to quickly train school leaders and teachers on topics like effective distance learning techniques.
- COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel
- CARES Act Fact Sheet
- EdWeek: What Coronavirus and the CARES Act Mean for School Budgets
- District Administration: The COVID-19 crisis and school district budgets
We’re with you through these challenging times! We hope this information is useful to you as you continue to provide essential education to students and vital services to their families. We’re constantly grateful to be able to support you and the work you do.