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04.21.20 UPDATES Summary of Latest COVID Legislation from AASA

Update 04/21/2020

Email update from Noelle Ng Ellerson 04.21.2020

From: Ellerson Ng, Noelle
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 10:02 AM
Cc: Domenech, Daniel
Subject: URGENT Info: Applications for COVID CARES Funding 

Good morning state executives

We have twice-weekly calls with the other education organizations we partner with most often (NSBA, NASSP, NAESP, AFT, NSBA, as well as the Governors (NGA) and State Chiefs (CCSSO)). Today’s call included new information about applications for the CARES funding at the state and local level that I wanted to pass to you ASAP.

  • The applications for K12 funding will be available starting this Thursday, April 23.
  • The funding can be retroactive to March 13.
  • For the State and Local Money: It is critical superintendents start NOW to plan how they will use the money when it comes in. From where we sit, the push for quick distribution means it has been a scramble to put together the application. USED has committed to grant approval within 3 days of receipt of funds, assuming the state applications are accurate. State should be working now to ensure they will have their accounts set up to receive and distribute funds. CCSSO will send out a draft guidance document in terms of allowability for money for salaries. Districts can start planning now on how they want to use the money.
  • For the Governor’s Money: Governor’s are applying this week. NGA is reporting that they are hearing from governors that the purpose of the funding is to fill the gaps for higher education and elementary/secondary education funds but they are struggling to assess where the gaps are. Governors will be relying on state agencies for help in determining where the funding needs to go. It is absolutely imperative that state associations and local supts in states are talking to SEAs and governors about where the funding needs to go.


We will send along any guidance and the application as soon as we have it.


Thank you,


Noelle Ellerson Ng

Associate Executive Director, Advocacy & Governance

AASA, The School Superintendents Association

(C) 703-774-6935

Twitter: @Noellerson



Email to our Executive Director from Noelle Ellerson, AASA

Good morning state executives 
First, thank you to everyone for signing on to the COVID waiver letter. The final version is attached (click here to review) and—for only the second time in my 12 year career—we had a joint letter from all 49 of our affiliates.
Second, a summary of the emergency legislation introduced by Senate Republicans yesterday. Please note the entire package is under negotiation; we will keep you updated.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell released a proposal for a third coronavirus relief bill that includes provisions related to education and student aid.  I’ve attached a section-by-section summary (the pdf) and a summary of the bill that, unfortunately, doesn’t include the education title. The package currently includes zero dollars for K12, but does include proposals related to waiver relief (This is related to what we asked for but needs to be tightened; it is in complement to what we expect the Secretary to unveil today) The education title – the COVID-19 Pandemic Education Relief Act of 2020 – is Division D, Title II, and starts with section 4501 on page 87.  In general, it provides relief to students with grants, work study, and loans who drop out because of the pandemic, provides 3 to 6 months of deferred payments for student loan borrowers, and allows waivers for state compliance with some regulations in specified education laws.  Some major provisions are:

  • Waivers for requirements of ESSA, HEA, and Perkins – Section 4511 allows the Secretary of Education to waive requirements and regulations – except not for civil rights – under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.  It does not allow wavers of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) but gives the Secretary of Education 30 days to report to Congress if there are waivers “to provide limited flexibility to States and local educational agencies” for IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Continues student grants – Sections 4503-4508 allow students to continue to receive federal grants and aid even if their studies are stopped as a result of the pandemic, and don’t count the semester against future loan or grant eligibility for students who drop out this semester.
  • Suspends payments on loans for at least three months – Section 4513 suspends all student loan payments for 3 months and allows the Secretary to suspend them for an additional 3 months.  Interest will not accrue, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness will count the deferred months as if payments had been made.

Democratic leadership is reviewing the bill – Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer released a short statement on the bill tonight that read: “We are beginning to review Senator McConnell’s proposal and on first reading, it is not at all pro-worker and instead puts corporations way ahead of workers.” The House is not planning to come back into session until it is ready to vote on the next response bill, whether it is this one or another one.
Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Noelle Ellerson Ng
Associate Executive Director, Advocacy & Governance
AASA, The School Superintendents Association
Twitter: @Noellerson

Click here to review Cares Act Summary

Click here to review HELP Committee Provisions CARES Act Section by Section