The Minnesota Department of Education released how the $250 million new COVID-19 funding will impact each school district in the state. This funding received final legislative approval on Friday and now can be allocated to schools for operational and support for students, families and educators.
Gov. Tim Walz initially announced this funding on July 30 as part of the Safe Learning Plan. The dollars come from the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) that were a part of the last federal relief bill. Combined with the funds already slated for schools 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.
- Schools will spend these dollars first. 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.
- The funds may be used for operations and support for students, families and educators. 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.
Using the Funds
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
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.