Unpacking the CARES Act Funding

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Unpacking the CARES Act Funding

Under the CARES Act, States and districts are set to receive $13.2 billion for K-12 in the CARES Act. The money must be spent by September 2021 although it’s not clear whether the funding can be directed at costs already incurred related to the pandemic (but that is our hope). There is an urgent push by Governors to expedite the process for moving these funds to districts which AASA supports, but it still could be at least two months before they show up in districts’ coffers.

Once the funds are out here is how you can use them:

  1. Any activity authorized in ESSA, IDEA and Perkins CTE
  2. To coordinate with public health departments to prevent, prepare and respond to COVID-19
  3. To address the unique needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English-learners, racial and ethnic minorities, homeless and foster care youth
  4. PD for staff on sanitation and minimizing spread of pandemic and purchasing supplies to clean and sanitize buildings
  5. Planning for and coordinating long-term closures including how to do meal services, how to provide tech/online learning, how to carry out IDEA, etc.
  6. Providing mental health services/supports
  7. Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months, and addressing the needs of vulnerable children
  8. Any other activity necessary to maintain the operation and continuity to employ existing staff 

ED has developed a streamline waiver that provides even more flexibility to States to waive how they spend their existing money, which could allow schools to spend more of the federal dollars on technology for distance learning. That said, we would prefer the funding for ed-tech to come from the E-Rate program and are requesting $2 billion in additional E-Rate funding in the next stimulus package to ensure districts can attempt to close the homework gap. 

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