LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- State officials expect a $237 million windfall for Kentucky's public education system from the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus passed to buttress the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kentucky Department of Education held a webinar for superintendents throughout the state Tuesday regarding the financial implications of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Kentucky school districts have stopped offering in-person instruction through at least May 1 on Gov. Andy Beshear's recommendation in hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19.
They can expect millions from two sources created in the federal coronavirus relief package: the $13.2 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the $2.9 billion Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund.
Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney said an estimated $193.2 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and $43.8 million from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund may be available to the state based on reviews of the spending plan.
Local school districts will receive at least 90% of the $193.2 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund through the Title I funding formula, with KDE allowed to retain 10% for grants and other statewide emergency needs, she said.
Since the total amount is about 83% of federal Title I funding for fiscal year 2019, Kinney said districts should prepare to receive about the same proportion of Title I money through that piece of the stimulus.
All Kentucky school districts receive Title I funding, meaning they'll all receive some funding from the federal stimulus.
"The department is still considering whether the state agency will avail itself of the 10% that is allowed to stay with the state agency, so we're basing that 83% so that it sort of gives you a base and then there could be opportunities for more money to flow to the district level," she said.
The U.S. Department of Education must invite applications within 30 days and approve them within 30 days of submission, though Kinney noted that other states and education organizations have encouraged the agency to quicken its pace so funding can begin flowing to school districts affected by COVID-19.
That money can be used at the discretion of school districts, though state officials encouraged superintendents to focus that spending on one-time expenses rather than recurring costs like payroll.
"We understand that districts need this money coming to them at a fast pace, and so we are really advocating that it comes to us very, very soon," she said.
The Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund will be distributed through emergency grants at Beshear's discretion to districts impacted by COVID-19, though Kinney said some of that money could go to higher education institutions.
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