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Is $54.3B in COVID-19 relief funding enough for K-12 schools?

Naaz Modan, K-12 Dive |

A second COVID-19 relief bill includes $54.3 billion for K-12 schools — nearly four times as much as the $13.5 billion that was provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — for school building, personal protective equipment and learning loss expenses. The amount is a “sizable increase” from the last package, said Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director of policy and advocacy for The School Superintendents Association. 

The bipartisan legislation, which is expected to be approved by Congress and be signed by President Donald Trump, also provides $4.1 billion for governors to distribute to schools based on need and $250 million for Head Start programs.  

However, K-12 experts said it doesn’t provide targeted E-rate funding to bridge the homework gap or funding for state and local governments that could be used to stave off steep K-12 education budget cuts. 

10 questions about the new stimulus money for schools, answered

Matt Barnum, Chalkbeat |

The K-12 money will be divided among states and then passed to districts largely in the same way that Title I funds are. That means high-poverty school districts will generally get more. But schools could see much of that money eaten up by cuts to state budgets. After significant wrangling, Congress didn’t end up including extra money to make up for state budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic recession.

As a rough rule of thumb, districts can expect to receive four times whatever they got from the CARES Act.

Related: Highlights of $900 billion COVID-19 relief, wrapup bills – The Associated Press

Read the bill in full – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 


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