WASHINGTON – Late last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, legislation that takes important steps to safeguard the learning of all students whose education has been disrupted by COVID-19. We are grateful to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for their work in securing resources for our K12 education system while ensuring that charter schools, their staff, and the students they serve are treated fairly in this time of national emergency.
“We are pleased that the Senate is prioritizing emergency funding for all public schools, including charter schools, and the families they serve,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “As public schools scramble to transition to remote learning, we are grateful that state education agencies and governors have access to additional resources to address the unique needs of the students in their states and to ensure equitable access for all.”
The CARES Act includes a $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund which allocates funds to governors, state education agencies (SEAs), local education agencies (LEAs), and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to address a range of student needs. The bill allocates:
- $3 billion in flexible funding to governors for K-12 and IHEs;
- $13.5 billion to SEAs for grants to LEAs; and,
- $14.25 billion to IHEs.
SEAs are required to allocate funds to LEAs based on the relative share of federal Title I funding they received last year. Funds can be used for a wide range of K-12 purposes, including purchasing educational technology to support online learning and making up for lost learning time.
Importantly, the bill’s funding mechanism to LEAs ensures that charter schools receive their appropriate share of funding.
Furthermore, the CARES Act ensures all waivers from Elementary and Secondary Education Act requirements granted by the U.S. Secretary of Education include charter schools and are implemented in accordance with state charter laws.
The bill includes $100 million for Project School Emergency Response to Violence to address the impact of this emergency on students, including their mental health.
Child nutrition programs are also boosted by $8.8 billion for food purchases and demonstration projects to increase flexibility for schools.