The MSBA Weekly Advocate
Legislative news school boards need to know
Education Provisions of the
Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020
COVID-19 Recovery Package
Members of Congress passed the Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020 late last night.

Education Highlights $82B
  • $54B dedicated to K-12
  • $22B dedicated to Higher Ed
  • $10B for childcare and $250M for Head Start
  • $4.1B for Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund

The bill does not provide school districts with E-Rate funding for student connectivity and distance learning, but the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) funding will reimburse Internet service providers for home Internet discounts for low-income households.

Also missing from the bill is liability protections for businesses or other entities.

The $54 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund will be allocated based on each state's proportion of Title I Part A funding. Funds can be used for authorized activities under Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Perkins, Adult Education or McKinney-Vento programs. Funds may also be used for expenses allowed under the CARES Act. Payments for employees and contractors are required "to the greatest extent practicable" for those receiving Education Stabilization funds.

The Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund of $4.1 billion may be used for emergency support of K-12 schools, childcare and early childhood and other education programs essential to emergency education services, social and emotional supports and job-protection services. Over half the funds, $2.75 billion, will be allocated for emergency assistance to non-public schools where students below the 185 percent of poverty are enrolled. Funds may not be used for scholarships, voucher or similar programs.

This bill, when signed into law, will extend the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). The spending deadline will be extended from December 30, 2020 to December 30, 2021.

Other Highlights
  • The bill extends unemployment insurance payments for an additional 11 weeks.
  • Individuals will receive $600 payments

Minnesota Legislature
The House Committee on Racial Justice met this afternoon to hear the report. The following are the committee's recommendations for education.
  • Expand and increase state investment for Family Home Visiting and Early Head Start for communities experiencing the greatest educational disparities
  • Increase subsidies for early childhood care and education, including through the Child Care Assistance Program and Early Learning Scholarships for communities experiencing the greatest educational disparities
  • Increase investment in recruiting, training, retaining, and promoting Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers through scholarship and loan forgiveness programs, Grow-Your-Own Pathway grants
  • Implement stipends for mentor teachers and paid student teaching opportunities to address income inequality challenges that create barriers to diversifying our pipeline of future teachers•Increase investments to develop new full-service community schools focused on the districts with the greatest racial disparities
  • Increase funding for youth apprenticeships and work experience•Implement civics and financial literacy requirements for high school students.
  • Mandate training for teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in anti-racist, culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and restorative practices•For districts with the most significant racial disparities,build protections for Teachers of Color and Indigenous teachers to improve retention rates Fund the hiring of school support professionals in order to meet recommended staff-to-student ratios for school counselors, social workers, behavior specialists, psychologists, and nurses
  • Expand the Full and Equitable Participation in Preschool and Pre-K to students in grades K-2
  • Institute non-exclusionary discipline practices, including but not limited to: requiring districts to include non-exclusionary discipline policies and practices in their uniform criteria for dismissal, requiring districts to provide alternative educational services if a student is suspended for more than X days, requiring suspended students be able to complete all assignments and receive full credit for satisfactory completion, and requiring districts complete and implement student readmission plans
  • Require reporting on pupil withdrawal agreements
  • Increase access to dual credit and other rigorous courses in high school for all students, not just high-achieving students
  • Increase access to technical and trade college courses in high school
  • Provide access to free post-secondary remedial classes
  • Increases investments in tutoring for college students
  • Provide tuition-free community college for students with financial needs
  • Expand financial preparation and financial aid awareness/education high school students and families Develop emergency funding program for post-secondary students.

The Senate Republicans announced the committee structure for the upcoming session. Members of the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee include: Chair Chamberlain and senators Coleman, Duckworth, Newman, and Eichorn. The Senate Democrats have not announced their members as yet.

In the House, the Republican caucus has named Rep. Erickson as the lead for Education Policy.

MSBA will continue to keep you updated. Meanwhile, we wish you and your families a very happy holiday season!
Denise and Kim