Summer Update
July 2021
A stimulating summer
Federal stimulus dollars are flowing into states and it's not easy keeping track of the spending plans; more on that in a minute. First, here's a refresher on the big picture.

In 2020 and 2021, Congress approved $190.5 billion in coronavirus relief aid specifically for K-12 for education.  These are the ESSER funds and they are distributed to states using the same formula that states receive Title I funds. States must distribute at least 90% of these funds to LEAs (local education agencies), i.e. districts and charter schools. 

The latest package, known as the ARP Act, stipulates that SEAs (State Education Agencies) reserve their allocations to address learning loss (5%), after school activities (1%), and summer learning programs (1%). LEAs must reserve 20% of their funds for learning loss. Two-third of their funds are immediately available and the remaining will following after the states submit their plans to the federal government for review. 

What did they allocate for Kansas and Missouri?

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act


What's next for ESSER III?

Kansas submitted its  spending plan for ESSER III and noted the highest priorities are providing summer enrichment programs to students in suburban and urban areas and addressing learning losses, especially in math. 

Missouri submitted its spending plan for ESSER III and noted its most pressing ongoing issues as challenges to the educator workforce, accelerating learning, and addressing the digital divide.

LEAs must submit the ARP ESSER plans to the state by late August.

LEA Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan

According to federal guidelines, "An LEA that receives ARP ESSER funds must, within 30 days of receiving the funds, make publicly available on its website a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. Before making the plan publicly available, the LEA must seek public comment on the plan."

Georgetown University's Edunomics Lab has been closely monitoring spending plans and offers five principles for district spending:
  1. Honor the promise to taxpayers to focus on students and staff.
  2. Commit to a multi-year spending plan.
  3. Seek targeted investments to increase learning time for students who need it most.
  4. Consider how equitably funds are applied across schools.
  5. Be transparent and ensure broad participation in spending decisions.
Stayed tuned to your local schools for ESSER III news and get involved with the spending plan decisions. For example, Licking R-VIII School District has a meeting planned on July 12th.

Time to Innovate

Think about the priorities you would like included in these plans. Some suggestions are increased teacher salaries, investing in early childhood programs, and building out real world learning opportunities. 

Congress also approved $52.1 billion to assist families and stabilize the child care market through the CARES Act, CRRSA Act, and ARP Act.

Federal Relief for Child Care

Congress also approved $52.1 billion to assist families and stabilize the child care market through the CARES Act, CRRSA Act, and ARP Act.

Child Care Stabilization Funds
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act

American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act

Last week, the Missouri early childhood team presented a webinar on the current status of coronavirus stabilization funds. Watch it here.

Some of the activities that will be funded with CRRSA funds include:
  • Stipends from non-traditional care
  • Foster care slots
  • Support for families engaged in job search
  • Expansion (upgrades) for existing providers
  • Expansion (start-up) for new providers
  • Higher education grants
  • Paycheck protection programs
  • Child care professional development
  • Youth development credential
  • Grant administration
  • Technical and business assistance
  • Sliding scale fees
The Bipartisan Policy Center assembled a fact sheet on Kansas' Use of CRRSA Child Care funding. Plans include support for providers through sustainability grants, for families through the Hero Relief Program, and for the workforce with scholarships for training.
Missouri News
Lawmakers tackle unfinished business; dodge draconian budget cuts

Governor Mike Parson called a special session last week and asked the legislature to approve a healthcare provider tax that funds a good chunk of the state Medicaid program. Known as the Federal Reimbursement Allowance (FRA), lawmakers typically pass this bill without much fanfare during the regular session. However, this year this provision became politically charged. The Missouri Independent has an excellent explainer

The agreement reached this week reauthorized the program for three years AND included language that prohibits MO Healthnet from covering the costs of drugs and devices used to induce an abortion. That said, the legislation contains a severability clause that will allow the removal of the anti-abortion language if courts or the federal government disproves. 

What does that mean for the PK-12 budget?

If the legislature failed to pass the FRA renewal by June 30th, the Governor would have withheld $733M in state spending, $22M specifically from education.

Governor Parson approved budget bills this week and vetoed approximately $13M in education spending, which includes:
  • $5,000,000 for charter school deferred maintenance
  • $2,000,000 for an adult workforce diploma program
  • $3,250,000 for school turnaround fund
  • $3,000,000 for rural advising fund
  • $190,304 for DESE bonuses
Regarding the funding for charter school maintenance, Governor Parson wrote in his veto letter, "This funding is limited to charter schools, unfairly limiting access to K-12 schools. Deferred maintenance is the responsibility of the charter sponsor, not the State."

Meanwhile the cash keeps flowing

As of June 4th, 2021, revenue collections for May 2021 had increased 128.3 percent compared to those for May 2020, from $533.5 million last year to $1.22 billion this year. And net general revenue collections for 2021 fiscal year-to-date increased 24.3 percent compared to May 2020, from $8.06 billion last year to $10.02 billion this year.
T-minus 56 days

The Office of Childhood will officially open its doors to its new office on the first floor of the Jefferson Office Building on Monday, August 30th. The transition team includes more than employees from the Office of Administration, Department of Social Services, Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

During the monthly PDG-B5 update webinar, Dr. Pam Thomas explained that the work right now is centered on structure, processes, and people and working on the essential functions that will cross over multiple teams like contracts, payments to providers, and referrals. That said, she emphasized that "Children are at the center of what we do."
Kansas News
Revenues in Kansas also on the rise

The state collected $8.9 billion for FY21 which in an increase of $1.8 billion (26%) more than the previous year. See all the final tallies here

Addressing the 'homework gap'

The Kansas Association of School Boards reports on a Kansas Health Institutes study that finds "three in 10 Kansans lacked adequate internet access, which is required for tele-health, education, business and social activities." Funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act will be available for schools to purchase laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connections. 

Kansas receives $29 million for special needs

The funds will serve students eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Read more here
Tyler Nottberg & Maxine Clark talk child care
Earlier this week Aligned partnered with Kids Win Missouri to present the Missouri Child Care Roadmap to business leaders in two virtual presentations.

Tyler Nottberg and Maxine Clark hosted the events and emphasized that quality early childhood education can help solve a two-generation workforce challenge by empowering parents to be productive in their careers while ensuring our youngest children develop the cognitive and social skills they will need to thrive as productive adults. 

Summer reading
If you only read one education related article this summer, make it this one. ProPublica takes a very deep dive into a lost school yeaand finds that "students of color suffered a strikingly negative impact on their academic growth amid the crisis.
We are still largely in research mode but gearing up for a very busy fall. We will keep you posted. 

Happy 4th of July!

Torree Pederson
(913) 484-4202

Linda Rallo
(314) 330-8442