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  • Writer's pictureState Rep. Kelly Keisling

How the CARES Act Will Impact K-12 Education in Tennessee

From Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn: Our staff remains focused on providing robust guidance and assistance to both practitioners and stakeholders alike, and it is with that focus in mind that I would like to share some preliminary details with you on how the Congressional Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) will impact K-12 education in Tennessee.

The sweeping legislation addresses several issues facing our nation, including K-12 education. Here is a quick breakdown of all the relevant K-12 investments made by the version that passed the Senate on Wednesday, and just passed the House earlier today:

  • $13.5 billion designated for K-12 schools through an Education Stabilization Fund

  • $3.5 billion set aside to address additional state needs related to children

  • $8.7 billion for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure students who depend on in-school meal services continue to receive nutritious meals during school closures

  • $100 million for grants to fund school cleaning and disinfection efforts, which could also support mental health services

  • $25 million to assist in rural development to support distance learning

These funds are not intended to function like Race to the Top dollars and will not operate as competitive grants. Instead, this funding is designed to support existing agency and district functions to minimize any long-term negative impacts to students, teachers, and schools caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Our staff continues to monitor this legislation, and we will work with the Trump administration and the U.S. Department of Education to ensure we are utilizing any funding to best support and codify the work our districts are already accomplishing during this period of uncertainty. Once the federal legislation and allocations are finalized, we will continue to inform districts and stakeholders on how these measures will support our students through a coherent statewide strategy that flows dollars to schools.


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