$130B for education passes House in COVID-19 relief bill

It remains to be seen if the education portions of the bill will be significantly changed by Senate negotiators
By: | March 1, 2021
As passed by the House, the latest COVID relief act would require states to send at least 90% of the K-12 education relief funds to local educational agencies.As passed by the House, the latest COVID relief act would require states to send at least 90% of the K-12 education relief funds to local educational agencies.

The House last week approved the American Rescue Plan Act, H.R. 1319, a bill that includes nearly $130 billion in supplemental funding for K-12 education, moving the bill to the Senate for further consideration. The bill passed by a 219-212 near party-line vote.

“The American Rescue Plan provides schools with the resources they need to re-open safely, protect students and staff, and make up for lost time in the classroom,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., in a statement after the House vote. “It directs urgently needed relief to institutions of higher education, child care providers, and the essential workers who have worked throughout this pandemic but still cannot provide for themselves or their families.”

“We are putting children safely back in schools with a $130 billion investment in re-opening schools and making up for lost learning and to do so safely,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a speech on the House floor in support of the bill on Feb. 26.

Democratic leadership in Congress is aiming to pass the bill by March 14, but the bill faces changes as the Senate begins work on the legislation this week. It remains to be seen if the education portions of the bill will be significantly changed by Senate negotiators.


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As passed by the House, H.R. 1319 would require state educational agencies to send at least 90% of the K-12 education relief funds to local educational agencies.

The bill would require LEAs to use at least 20% of those funds to support activities that address learning loss through “evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning, extended day, or extended school year programs.”

The interventions must “respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus” on at-risk populations as defined by the ESEA.

The bill would require LEAs to reserve funds to provide equitable services “in the same manner as ESEA Section 1117” in consultation with nonpublic schools.

In addition, the control of funds and title to “materials, equipment, and property purchased with such funds” must be retained by a public agency. This is the same equitable services requirement of ESSER funds authorized by the CARES Act.

The funds would be available through Sept. 30, 2023.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.


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