February 15, 2021

What congressional COVID-19 funding means for K-12 schools

The Senate and House have cleared the way for considering a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden that would dedicate an additional $170 billion for K-12 schools and higher education, as well as spending billions more to prop up the state and local governments that are critical to funding education. After an overnight session spent weighing hundreds of amendments, senators voted 51-50 early Feb 5 to proceed with the budget reconciliation process, which could stretch into March. The House followed suit that afternoon, with members in both chambers voting along party lines.

The Biden administration also released a detailed, $145 billion estimate of what K-12 schools still need to ensure buildings can safely reopen and students can recover their academic momentum. These include $60 billion to prevent layoffs and $50 billion for the equipment and modifications needed to achieve physical distancing. About 20 percent of the dollars would go toward addressing learning loss. His “American Rescue Plan” includes $130 billion toward K-12 priorities.

Movement on Biden’s plan comes barely a month after Congress approved a $900 billion Covid relief package that included about $82 billion for education. The December 2020 package, known as the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) provides:

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