Information provided by Kevin Gordon, President - Capitol Advisors Group, LLC
After a great deal of pressure to get the K-12 education funding relief out to States, this afternoon Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the availability of the $13.2 billion in emergency funding, allowing States to apply immediately. This is the larger component of the federal aid which will be distributed to local education agencies (LEAs) in the state. The Secretary’s announcement underscored the intent to distribute these funds with “very few bureaucratic strings attached.”
California’s share of these funds is calculated to be $1.64 billion, with 90% or about $1.5 billion going directly to LEAs based on their proportional Title I distributions for 2019. While the state is able to retain up to 10 percent of the total amount, we have been part of an active lobbying effort to urge the state to send as much of that potential hold-back out to districts. The funding is flexible, with a number of recommended uses including investments in technology, distance learning, training and planning, and after school programs.
The state has until July 1st to apply by submitting a signed certification and agreement to the U.S. Department of Education and, if a state fails to allocate all of the 90 percent portion to LEAs within one year, those funds must be returned.
We have written about this before, but wanted to remind you about an interesting part of this funding that ties these dollars to a minimum commitment to overall school funding by states. We have looked at that language in the bill, HR 748, and the requirement to hold education steady over the average of three years, including 2019-20, would still permit cuts to K-12 education we would not want to see happen. In addition, the hold harmless language can be waived by the Secretary for states that request it based upon the need to relieve fiscal burdens of a “precipitous decline in financial resources.”
With this afternoon’s announcement, Secretary DeVos has acted on the availability of most of the stimulus funding for education, including the $3 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and nearly $12.5 billion for higher education. We will keep you informed as these funds are pursued by Superintendent Thurmond and ultimately opened up at the state level by CDE.
Kevin Gordon, President
Capitol Advisors Group, LLC
925 L Street, Suite 1200
Sacramento, California 95814