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Safe Learning Plan 2020-21


August 10, 2020
Federal Legislative Alert
Members of Congress need to hear from you on the issues of funding, liability, worker's comp and nutrition.  

Background
Congressional leaders are continuing to negotiate the next COVID relief package. The Senate Republicans recently released their proposal - the HEALS Act - setting up final negotiations with the House of Representatives. The House proposal - the HEROES Act - was released in May.

The HEROES Act carries a $3 trillion price tag while the HEALS Act comes in at $1 trillion.  Both proposals would provide another round of $1,200 stimulus checks but there are significant differences in the areas of unemployment payments and aid for states and local units of government.

There are also differences in the education provisions between the two proposals:
HEROES Act (House Democrats)
*    $58 billion for K-12 education
* 61 percent based on the state's relative share of the population aged 5-24 and 39 percent based on the state's relative number of low-income children
*    Funding is NOT contingent on reopening plans
*    Does not provide funding for private schools
*    Does not include liability protections for school districts
*    The CARES Act provides payment to states to reimburse nonprofits, government agencies, and
Indian tribes for 50 percent of the costs they incur through December 31, 2020 to pay unemployment benefits. The HEROES Act keeps the reimbursement at 50 percent but extends it until December 31, 2021.

HEALS Act (Senate Republicans)
*    $70 billion for K-12 Education
* 60 percent passed on population and 40 percent based on Title I share. One-third of funding goes to all LEAs AND private schools based on population/Title I share regardless of reopening status. The remaining two-thirds will be based on the school reopening plans. Each Governor will receive a plan from the LEA on how they will physically reopen. Upon receipt of the funds, State would award funding to LEAs according to re-opening status. A district that has at least 50% in-person instruction would be eligible automatically for funding. A district that does not provide in-person instruction to any students will not be eligible for any funding. A district that offers hybrid learning options to less than 50% of students would have funding determined on a pro-rata basis.
*    In addition to private schools being eligible for funding outlined above, the bill creates a new voucher program called Education Freedom Scholarships. It is a one-time appropriation that can be used on any educational expense - including private school tuition.
*    Creates a federal cause of action for coronavirus exposure claims against schools. The cause of action is the exclusive remedy for all claims against a defendant for personal injury caused by an actual, alleged, feared or potential exposure to coronavirus.
*    The CARES Act provides payment to states to reimburse nonprofits, government agencies, and
Indian tribes for half of the costs they incur through December 31, 2020 to pay unemployment
benefits. The HEALS Act would increase the percentage from 50 to 75 percent for costs incurred through December 31, 2020.

ACTION
Calls or email your Congressional representatives today. You can find contact information for our congressional representatives using this link.

Key Messages to Convey to Congressional Delegation
*    Public schools urgently need funding to address the challenges of safely reopening their school building doors to students and staff. Funding is needed to ensure access to devices and high-speed broadband, meal distribution, staffing, transportation, cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.
*    School districts are experiencing skyrocketing unemployment compensation claims. Congress can provide relief by providing funding to cover 75 percent of the cost through December 31, 2021.
*    Oppose and efforts to privatize education through vouchers or tax credits for nonpublic schools.
*    Provide liability protection for our public schools.
*    Provide support and flexibility for school nutrition programs and IDEA.

Upcoming Meetings
Wednesday, August 12 9:45 AM      
Education Finance Division
HTV 1
Chair: Rep. Jim Davnie
Agenda:
Informational hearing of the Education Finance Division that will focus on Executive Order 20-82, the Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21 Guidance, and federal funds for K-12 public schools that relate to COVID-19.

Presentations will be given on these topics by the Minnesota Department of Education.

To submit written comments please email them to sarah.burt@house.mn by noon on Tuesday, August 11.

Wednesday, August 12  12:00 PM
The third special session will begin at noon.
Minnesota School Boards Association | 507-934-8133 | msba@mnmsba.org
145 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55103