Passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided Virginia with approximately $238.6 million in federal funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on Virginia’s K-12 system. This funding comes from the $13.2 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Of Virginia’s funding through the Fund, 90 percent will be distributed to local school divisions based on Title I allocation formulas of the Every Student Succeeds (ESEA) Act. The remaining 10 percent will remain reserved for statewide efforts through the Virginia Department of Education.
Use of these funds includes expenses related to:
- Activities authorized by ESEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act;
- Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address school needs;
- Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including how to provide meals, technology for online learning, guidance on IDEA requirements, and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all applicable requirements;
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain operations and continuity of services and continuing to employ existing staff.
A memo from Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. James F. Lane providing further information on the disbursement and use of these funds and spreadsheet detailing each local school division’s allocation of federal funds can be located here and here respectively.
On March 23, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 53, which among other provisions ordered the closure of all public and private K-12 schools in Virginia for the remainder of the school year. This makes Virginia one of 47 states and 4 U.S. territories that have ordered or recommended school closures for the rest of the year as means of minimizing the spread of the virus and preventing the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. A map of each state’s K-12 response can be here.
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will continue to make Basic Aid payments to local school divisions during this closure. VACo staff emailed County Administrators initial Basic Aid disbursement estimates from VDOE and will provide additional updates, however it should be stressed that these are estimates. Given the recent changes in economic conditions, closely monitoring sales tax payments and making necessary adjustments to revenue projections is important moving forward. Estimates of sales tax were not amended at the Reconvened Session and pending any updated fiscal year sales tax projections being released, school divisions and local governments should continue to closely monitor their actual monthly sales tax revenue received.
Additional information and resources involving VDOE’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett