Education highlights of HEALS and HEROES acts

Congress is considering two proposals to bring financial relief to schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a breakdown of each, by the numbers
By: | July 28, 2020
Photo by Pictures of Money via Creative Commons 2.0.

There are two main proposals in Congress designed to bring financial relief to schools as they continue education services during COVID-19 outbreak.

The Health; Economic Assistance; Liability protection; and Schools Act was introduced by Senate Republicans on July 27 and dedicates $105 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund.

The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, introduced by House Democrats and passed in the House on May 15, reserves $100.15 billion for education stimulus funding.

These two proposals are starting points for negotiations. Congress is under pressure to come to an agreement on what may be the last relief package considered before the November elections. Once an agreement is reached, the legislation will need the approval of President Trump.

Here are the education-related highlights of the two proposals:

Element

HEALS Act

HEROES Act

Amount
of funding

$105 billion, including K-12, higher education, and other education spending.

$100.15 billion, including K-12, higher education, and other education funding.

Allocation
of funds

·

Of the $105 billion, $70 billion would go toward the Elementary and
Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

·

Another $5 billion would be set aside for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund.

·

Additionally, $1 billion would be provided to the Bureau of Indian Education and the outlying areas.

·

Of the $90 billion for the state Fiscal Stabilization Fund, $58
billion would set aside for K-12 school districts.

·

Another $4 billion would go toward state governors to support education programs.

·

Additionally, $450 million would be set aside for the Bureau of Indian Education and another $450 million for the outlying areas.

Funding
conditions and allowances

·

The HEALS Act would provide grants to states with funding allocated to districts based on existing formulas and proportional funding for private schools based on the number of children attending private schools
in the state.

·

One-third of the funding would be available to districts and private schools within 15 days of the bill’s passage.

·

The remaining two-thirds would be available to districts, whose comprehensive school reopening plans area approved by the governor and
based on criteria set by the governor in consultation with the state education agency. The plans should include efforts to provide in-person
learning. Districts whose plans provide for in-person learning for at least 50 percent of its student body for at least 50 percent of each
school week will have their plans approved automatically. Districts and private schools that provide some in-person instruction but less than the
recommended levels would have their allocations reduced on a pro rata basis as determined by the governor.

·

The HEROES Act funding for K-12 would be distributed to public
school systems based on the local educational agency’s share of Title I-A funds.

·

The Education Secretary would allocate 61 percent of the remaining funds made available to states on the basis of their relative population of individuals aged 5 through 24, and allocate 39 percent on the basis of their relative number of children counted under Section 1124(c) of the Elementary and Secondary School Act.

·

Governors can use grants and subgrants to maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.

Funding
use examples

·

Activities supporting the return to in-person learning.

·

Developing and implementing procedures to prepare and respond to the novel coronavirus.

·

Providing additional services to address the unique needs of children from low-income families; students with disabilities; English learners; racial and ethnic minorities; and students experiencing
homelessness and foster care.

·

Training and professional development of staff on safety protocols.

·

Purchase of safety equipment and supplies.

·

Planning for and coordinating long-term closures, including providing technology for online learning and for guidance to carry out the
requirements under the IDEA.

·

Funds for LEAs may be
used for any activity authorized by the ESEA, including the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support,
and Assistance Act; the IDEA; Subtitle B of Title VII of the
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act; the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act; or the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

·

Additionally, funding
could support the purchase of education technology and hot spot devices; planning and implementing summer learning; counseling services; training
and professional development; and maintaining school staff employment.

Additional
provisions

·

Any educational entity that receives funds under the Education Stabilization Fund should, to the greatest extent possible, continue paying its employees and contractors during the period of disruptions or closures.

·

Requires that a state’s application includes assurances that the state will maintain support for elementary and secondary education in FY 2020 and FY 2021 at least at the proportional levels of such state’s support for elementary and secondary education relative to the state’s
overall spending in FY 2019.

·

The
HEROES Act increases, from $250 to $500, the deductions for certain expenses made by elementary and secondary school teachers.

·

Amends the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to clarify private school share of funds under the “equitable services” provision is calculated based on students identified under ESEA Section 1115(c), which includes low-income, special needs and English learners.

·

Requires that a state’s application include assurances that the state will maintain support for elementary and secondary education in FY 2020, FY 2021, and FY 2022 at least at the level that is the average of the three fiscal years preceding the fiscal year the state support for elementary and secondary education is provided.

Sources: The Health; Economic Assistance; Liability protection; and
Schools Act
and the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions
Act
.