Federal stimulus package would send relief to schools
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Congress passed COVID-19 emergency relief legislation Monday, Dec. 21.
The legislation has moved to the desk of President Trump for his signature or veto. Despite earlier signaling his support, he said Tuesday that he’d like to see changes to the legislation, including higher payments to individuals.
The bill is actually two pieces of legislation crammed into one bill: COVID-19 emergency relief and funding for the continued operation of the U.S. government.
The COVID-19 relief portion of the bill amounts to $900 billion. Though that is smaller in scope than the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March, the nearly 6,000-page bill offers much-needed relief to all levels of education.
The legislation would allocate $54 billion to fund K-12 education, considerably more than the $13.4 billion in education funding in the March CARES Act. This bill would extend the Coronavirus Relief Fund spending deadline from Dec. 30, 2020, to Dec. 30, 2021.
Highlights of the $900 billion allocation specific to education include:
$82 billion for education overall
$54 billion for K-12 public schools. There is no condition related to funding based on schools physically reopening and operating with in-person education
$22.7 billion for higher education
$4.05 billion for the Governor Emergency Relief Fund. This includes a set-aside for private K-12 schools
$250 million for Head Start
$10 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant
Notably absent were crucial investments to provide dedicated funding to connect the millions of students impacted by the homework gap. A $3 billion proposal that would have been run through the E-Rate program for discounted telecommunications services was removed. Distance learning supports to combat the homework gap and learning loss remain an OSBA legislative priority.
On the governmental funding side, the $1.4 trillion allocation to fund the federal government next year included some notable education investments. The legislation would provide $73.5 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Education, representing a slight increase of $785 million. K-12 public education would receive $40.6 billion, including a $498 million funding increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There is $16.5 billion designated for Title I grants to local educational agencies, representing a $227 million increase. And there is $14.1 billion designated for special education, a $186 million increase.