Larger, but Still Insufficient — Campus Security & Life Safety | #Education

CARES Act 2: Larger, but Still Insufficient

Relief package dedicates billions of dollars for education

Even as the Biden administration has begun pushing for the
next recovery package, educators are still sorting out the
details of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, otherwise
known as “CARES Act 2.” The $900 billion relief package
passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020 and signed into law
on Dec. 27, dedicated $82 billion for education. While the funding
covered the same three buckets of money set aside in the CARES Act
legislation signed into law in March 2020, specifics vary slightly. Act
2 provides:

  • $54.3 billion for K-12, under the Elementary School Emergency
    Relief (ESSER II) Fund;
  • $22.7 billion for colleges and universities, under the Higher Education
    Emergency Relief (HEER II) fund;
  • $4 billion at the discretion of governors, under the Governor’s
    Emergency Education Relief (GEER II) Fund;
  • $10.25 billion for early childhood care providers, almost all issued
    through block grants and a small portion ($250 million) given to
    Head Start; and
  • $819 million for outlying areas and schools run by the Bureau of
    Indian Education.

The K-12 Allocation
Elementary and secondary education received $13 billion in the first
round of relief, making the newest round a fourfold increase.
However, K-12 advocates have expressed disappointment in the total,
calling it a fraction of what’s needed. The School Superintendents
Association (AASA), for instance, told its members that the allocation
was just a third of what schools needed for COVID relief. AASA advocated for $175 billion.

This round of funding will be available to public schools through a
formula payout through Sept. 30, 2022. That tacks on an extra year
compared to when districts are expected to spend their first round of
CARES Act money.

The money can be applied to a number of uses:

  • Coordinating and responding to the health emergency;
  • Activities for supporting special populations;
  • Sanitization and cleaning supplies and related training;
  • Providing meals and technology to students;
  • Providing mental health services;
  • Running summer and supplemental learning programs;
  • Addressing learning loss;
  • Running assessments;
  • Doing school facility repairs and improvements including purchases
    for improving air quality;
  • Any activity referenced under ESSA, the Perkins career and technical
    education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
    (IDEA), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act or subtitle B
    of Title VII of the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act; and
  • Other elements needed, including COVID testing.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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