Update: On Thursday, March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law. The final allocations for education remain largely unchanged from the original proposed legislation detailed in the article below. The US Department of Education will now formulate guidance for states on how this newest round of funding will be distributed.
It’s no doubt that school funding has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Declining state revenue, and therefore less tax revenue, has left many K-12 districts scrambling to understand what lies ahead.
Lawmakers in Washington, DC are considering another round of COVID-19 stimulus funding that will have financial implications for K-12 school districts if signed into law. This latest round of proposed funding is on top of the second wave of COVID-19 relief passed by Congress and signed into law at the end of 2020.
Let’s take a look at what is now available, as well as what may become available soon.
New school funding passed in December 2020
In December 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) which was a $900 billion stimulus package that included an additional $54.3 billion in federal assistance to K-12 schools. This new funding will be delivered in a manner similar to Title 1 funds. This act also includes an additional $4 billion that governors can use at their discretion to support “education institutions most significantly impacted by the pandemic.” Of this $4 billion, governors can allocate $2.75 billion for private and parochial schools to use on equipment, training, staff and other items needed to keep the schools operating.
The U.S. Education Department released the following information about distribution of the $54.3 billion provided in the December 2020 relief package. Here is the state-by-state breakdown:
|Total||Local Share||State Share||State Admin|
You can also view a summary by-state here. The U.S. Department of Education is now beginning to disperse these funds.
It’s worth noting that this $54.3 billion Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) is roughly 4 times what Congress approved for K-12 in the original CARES Act passed at the end of March 2020. This new round of funding aligns with the same goals as the original CARES Act. K-12 organizations can use CRSSA funds to:
- Provide resources that principals need to address coronavirus at their schools and support district efforts to improve preparedness
- Target assistance to address needs of students living in poverty, learning English, experiencing homelessness, dealing with disabilities or living in foster care
- Educate staff on the best ways to sanitize school facilities and properly use personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Buy PPE and supplies needed to clean/sanitize school buildings
- Develop plans for for school closures
- Purchase hardware and software needed to conduct remote and hybrid learning
- Offer services to support student mental health
- Address student learning loss, including support for afterschool and summer learning programs
- Renovate, repair and improve school facilities, especially ventilation systems
CRSSA also includes $7 billion to expand broadband access across the country. Districts may want to explore how that funding will be distributed in your state.
Summary of COVID-19 relief
|American Rescue Plan
|K-12||$13.2 billion||$54 billion||$130 billion|
|Higher Ed||$14 billion||$22 billion||$35 billion|
|Governors’ Discretion||$3 billion||$4 billion||$5 billion|
|Total||$30 billion||$82 billion||$170 billion|
Biden administration proposes more help for schools
The Biden administration is proposing a further round of funding as part of its $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan. If passed, this plan would allocate an additional $130 billion for K-12 education, as well as funding to support state and local governments, which is a major source of education funding. The combined stimulus packages would bring almost $200 billion in funding to support K-12 education during the pandemic. A primary focus of this new funding is to help schools safely re-open for in-person instruction. While the details of the plan are still be discussed in Congress, the emerging plan calls for:
- $60 billion to prevent layoffs of existing staff, and
- $50 billion for the equipment and barriers need to support proper physical distancing in schools.
Currently, about 20 percent of new funds would be targeted to address learning loss. Follow this link to see a breakdown of what’s being proposed for K-12 education under the American Rescue Plan.
The Biden administration is pressing to have this new round of stimulus funding passed and signed into law by early March. The most likely path is for Senate and House Democrats to use a budgetary reconciliation process that requires only simple majorities for passage. Amplified IT will update this blog post as details emerge. Subscribe to our blog to get updates directly in your inbox.
Head of Sales
About the Author:
Mike lives in Brooklyn, NY, and serves as the Head of Sales for Amplified IT. Mike began his career as a Grade 2 teacher and has many years of experience in the K-12 educational technology industry. Previously, he has worked at IBM, Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt, Edmodo, Newsela, Winsor Learning, and Spotify. Mike has served in a variety of sales, marketing, and product development roles. In his spare time, Mike loves to cook, travel, and create 3D and computer-based animation.