In December 2020, the U.S. Congress passed a funding bill that included the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), which included over $54.3 billion for K-12 education. This is approximately four times the funding provided to K-12 by the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.
As with the CARES Act, the CRRSAA funding is not solely Title I funding. However, it is being distributed to States using the same formula used for distributing Title I, Part A funds. LEAs (local education agencies such as school districts, qualifying charter schools, and other entities that qualify as LEAs) receive the 90% of CRRSAA funds following the Title I, Part A formula. Again, no provision of the CRRSAA asserts that these funds must be used solely for Title I programs. Although districts will likely use funds for Title I programs, the law does not specify that districts must use any of these funds for Title I programs.
States are allowed to retain 10% of these funds and can use up to one half of one percent for state administration. The CRRSAA requires that the remaining 9.5% address emergency needs as determined by the State.
How can CRRSAA funds be used?
The CRRSAA, is Section 313(d) lists 15 allowable uses of funds for LEAs and roughly two allowable uses of funds for SEAs (state education agencies). They include, but are not limited to:
LEA allowable uses of funds
- Section 313(d)(1) – “Any activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965”, which equates to its most recent reauthorization under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This section also includes allowable expenditures for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Native Hawaiian Education Act, and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support, and Assistance Act.
- Section 313(d)(2) – “Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local education agencies with State, local, Tribal, and other territorial public health departments . . . to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”
- Section 313(d)(3) - “Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.”
- Section 313(d)(4) – “Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth.”
- Section 313(d)(5) – “Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local education agencies.”
- Section 313(d)(6) – “Training and professional development for staff of the local education agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.”
- Section 313(d)(8) – “Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures . . . and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.”
- Section 313(d)(9) – “Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive education interaction between students and their classroom instructors.”
- Section 313(d)(11) – “Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.”
- Section 313(d)(13) & (14) – Provide for using these funds to improve school facilities to support student health needs and improve air quality.
- Section 313(d)(15) – “Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local education agencies . . .”
SEA allowable uses of funds
- Section 313(e) – A “State may reserve not more than one-half of 1% for administrative costs” and “the remainder for emergency needs as determined by the state education agency to address issues responding to coronavirus.”
It will take a month or more for the U.S. Department of Education to make these funds available to states. Once states receive CRRSAA funds, they will begin accepting applications for these funds from school districts. It could be two months or more into 2021 before districts can spend CRRSAA funds.
Districts have a lot of flexibility on how they can use CRRSAA funds. The fact that districts can use CRRSAA funds for any ESSA activity - “Any activity authorized by the ESEA” means that districts can use these funds to purchase products from the TransACT family of products, including ParentNotices, AfterSchool21, and Homeless Information Management System for Students (HIMSS).