Tuesday 4.14.2020
WFIS Weekly Update 4.14.2020
Today’s Catch-Up


Washington COVID-19 Numbers
10,726 confirmed cases, 543 deaths.
Information on the spread of the virus: John Hopkins University .

Private School Re-approval Due
(Re)Approval with the State Board of Education is due tomorrow, Wednesday April 15, 2020.
Contact WFIS with questions. Find the application here.

Three Important Questions with no Clear Answers
WFIS is hoping for clear guidance on the following questions and will share what we learn with you, as soon as we can.
  1. Will there be flexibility granted to private schools for reconvening in a gradual, limited, and safe manner, students before the end of the school year?
  2. Are private schools allowed to continue with construction projects and facility upgrades, in a COVID-19, safely controlled way? Public schools are allowed to continue construction.
  3. How are early learning programs going to survive? What help can they expect from the State and Federal Governments?
A Governors' Grant Announced Today
$3 billion will be made available to governors to ensure "education continues for students of all ages impacted by the coronavirus national emergency."

The Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund is a flexible "emergency block grant" designed to enable governors to decide how best to meet the needs of students, in all kinds of schools and other education-related organizations. WFIS has written a letter to the Governor requesting consideration of private school students in his determinations on how to allocate funds.
See announcement details.

Waivers
Update: A short notification survey to indicate whether or not your school utilized the emergency waivers will be emailed to schools later this month and will be due early fall.

There are two kinds of waivers: A day/hour waiver for all K12 schools and a credit waiver for Seniors only.
The SBE Emergency Waivers:
  • Apply to 2019-20 State approved private schools;
  • Provide high schools the authority to award a two-credit waiver to Seniors for graduation requirements;
  • Permits an online program, if utilized by all students, to automatically meet the instructional hour/days requirements, and therefore renders a waiver unnecessary;
  • Waives the instructional hours and days requirement for all schools;
  • Requires each private school to notify the state board of education about the use of the waivers. See update above.

On a different topic: Each private school may determine their own end-of-year-date.

Student Mental Health
The NAIS Sharing Solutions website has an area dedicated to caring for the community where private schools share ideas about how to celebrate milestones, retain a sense of community, and help families who have lost loved ones to this virus. 

Paycheck Protection Program
Update : Some banks are unable to process more applications for the PPP Grant due to the volume of requests received. Other banks are still accepting applications.
Some schools are reporting receiving the grant money. Best practice guidance suggests opening a distinct bank account for the grant money.

For more information on the PPP grant and other SBE Grants, go here .

The purpose of the PPP is to keep people employed. If your payroll from the two months of the loan is less than the payroll amount from this time last year (or an equivalent look-back period), it may reduce the amount of loan forgiveness. If you have already laid employees off, it may make sense to hire them back for the course of the loan and find work for them to do. This is a great question for an attorney.

Salary Freezes/Layoffs:
If you have made the decision to freeze or reduce salaries to only some employees, please consult your attorney to help avoid discrimination claims.

Federal Emergency Relief
We hope you have contacted your local school district if you are interested in federal funds that are allocated for public and private schools via equitable services. If you have not reached out to your district's Title Funds Specialist, ACSI has put together a sample memo to use to make that initial contact. 

Please also begin formulating a needs analysis for your school based on the 12 allowable expenses. When you do have a consultation with your local school district, you will want to take a copy of the new law as well as the guidance that we are expecting soon from the Department of Education. 

Fundraising
Some schools have shut down development efforts completely, others are conducting business as usual with creative twists such as online galas, and some are doing personal outreach to key donors. It may be best to ask for unrestricted donations. Also, part of the CARES act includes a $300 above the line deduction for 2020. This may help incentivize some donations in this difficult time.

Private School State Re-approval with State Board of Education
( Re)Approval is due tomorrow, Wednesday April 15, 2020.
Contact WFIS with questions. Find application here.

Send Questions! WFIS is having weekly meetings with the Office of the Superintendent Of Public Instruction; the State Board of Education; The Department of Children, Youth and Families; The Department of Health, Higher Education Officials; The Council for American Private Education; and many others. We will help you get your questions answered. Info@WFIS.org

Those are the thoughts of the day…

We wish you well.
-Suzie
WA Federation of Independent Schools | WFIS.org |253.912.5347