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COVID Relief Package and K–12 Funding

ASBO

Since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency, Congress passed several COVID stimulus or relief packages to support nationwide response and recovery efforts in March and April. These include:

  • COVID 1 package - H.R. 6074: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
  • COVID 2 package - H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
  • COVID 3 package - H.R. 748: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
  • COVID 3.5 / 4 package - H.R. 266: Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
  • COVID 4 / 5 package - TBD / in progress, informally referred to as "CARES 2" 


For the COVID 4 / 5 package, House Democrats passed their proposal on May 15, H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which was dead on arrival in the Senate. On June 30th, Senate Democrats introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), a $430 billion fiscal aid proposal for child care providers, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities as concerns about school reopening became center to the national conversation of restarting the economy, following information shared by ASBO International and AASA regarding the estimated costs districts may incur to safely reopen schools.

In mid-July Senate Republicans started negotiations on their own COVID 4 / 5 proposal in conjunction with the White House to pass a bill before the end of month. Lawmakers are pressured to pass another COVID package soon due to expiring provisions concerning unemployment benefits, eviction rules on federally-back mortgages, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the urgent need for K-12 education funding to help schools prepare for a safe school year. (For more details on competing House, Senate, and Trump Administration priorities with the next COVID package, visit this link.)

Senate Republicans were expected to reveal their COVID 4 / 5 or "CARES 2" proposal this week, however due to disagreements on the proposal scope, cost, and specific unemployment provisions, we may not see bill text until next week. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF; cef.org) has shared several provisions that reportedly are in the bill, but we won't know for sure until we see the bill text:

  • Senate bill total is near $1 trillion.
  • The bill includes $105 billion in supplemental funding for K-12 & higher education, most of which would go through the Education Stabilization Fund in the CARES Act.
    • $70 billion is for K-12 education.
      • $10 billion would be reserved for private schools, including the President's proposed Education Freedom Scholarships program and tuition tax credits for donations to scholarship funds for private schools.
      • $30 billion would be reserved for schools that reopen and thus face new costs - there is no detail on the language tying funding to reopening plans, or defining what qualifies as reopening for this funding. The $30 billion for all K-12 education would be allocated to "every school on a per capita basis" which is different than the Title I formula and that would seem to include all private schools. (Please note we will have more clarity once we have the bill text). 
    • $30 billion is for higher education, and is not tied to whether colleges reopen for in-person classes.
    • $5 billion is for the CARES Act GEERS governor's discretionary fund that can support across the education continuum.
  • The Senate package reportedly will not include additional revenue relief for state and local government
    • Note the House-passed Heroes Act included nearly $1 trillion in such relief, which could be used to backfill shortages in state and local education funding caused by lower tax revenue this year and next year.

*This article was provided by ASBO and is subject to change.