As part of the Safe Learning Plan announced Thursday, Gov. Tim Walz is making an additional $250 million available to schools from the state’s remaining Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) that were a part of the last federal relief bill.
Combined with the funds already slated from ESSER and GEER, the state is pushing nearly $430 million to help schools prepare for the 2020-21 school year.
Learn more about the reopening plans announced by the governor.
The newly announced $250 million must be spent by Dec. 31, 2020. Any unspent funds will cancel back to the state to assist with the looming state budget deficit. The $180 million in ESSER and GEER funds may be spent through 2022 so districts should work to code expenses accordingly.
These funds have not been allocated yet. They are awaiting formal legislative approval.
Using the Funds
The new $250 million will be broken into two categories: operational needs and student and family supports.
Operational uses include:
- Daily cleaning supplies and disinfectant sprayers
- Screening supplies including no-touch thermometers
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings
- Increased costs for transporting students at limited capacity
- Mental health supports
- Technology and Wi-Fi
Support for student, family and educator needs include:
- Digital training
- Technology devices and Internet access
- Tutors or mentors
- Translation services
- School-age care
- Professional development
The state initially recommended 60 percent for operations and 40 percent for support to students, families and educators. However, the Minnesota Department of Education said on Aug. 13 that 100 percent of the funds could be used for either area.
There will be an application process, similar to GEERS, for schools to share how they plan to initially use these funds.
The 60% for operational costs will go out on an ADM basis. The 40% for student supports will be distributed to schools based on two factors: 60% ADM and 40% for historically underserved student populations. A distribution run or information on the frequency of payments are not available at this time.
Page 18 of the MDE’s latest guidance outlines the distribution method for the new $250 million and more detail on allowable uses for these funds.