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Amy Li

Budget and Policy Post
April 23, 2021

COVID-19


Early Budget Actions to Support In‑Person K‑12 Instruction and Address Learning Loss


On March 5, 2021, the Governor signed Chapter 10 (AB 86, Committee on Budget), which provides additional one-time Proposition 98 funding to schools for providing in-person instruction and addressing student learning loss due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Below, we describe the major components of AB 86.

In-Person Instruction

Provides $2 Billion, Conditional on Meeting In-Person Instruction Requirements. Funding is allocated to local education agencies (LEAs)—school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education—based on their share of total 2020‑21 Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) allotments. (Non-classroom based charter schools are not eligible for funding.) To receive the full funding allocation, LEAs must meet certain in-person instruction requirements beginning April 1, 2021. Figure 1 describes these funding requirements. An LEA’s funding allocation is reduced by 1 percent for each day between April 1 and May 15, 2021 that the in-person instruction requirements are not met. LEAs that do not offer in-person instruction on or before May 15, 2021 will not receive any funding.

Figure 1

Requirements for In‑Person Instruction Funding

From April 1, 2021 Through the End of the 2020‑21 School Year

Required In‑Person Instruction

County Statusa

Not Eligible for
School Reopeningb

Eligible for
K‑12 School Reopening

Prioritized studentsc

Kindergarten through Grade 6

Middle and high school

At least one full grade

aCounty status for school reopening is based on the seven‑day average of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) cases, as determined under statewide public health guidance.

bIn‑person instruction must follow statewide guidance on student cohorts. Schools are also required to follow the state‑supported testing cadences for asymptomatic testing of school staff and students. These requirements do not apply if a COVID‑19 safety plan was already adopted or in place on or before March 31, 2021.

cPrioritized students include students with disabilities; homeless students; foster youth; English learners; students without Internet access and/or technology; disengaged students; and students at risk for abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

Specifies Funding Can Be Used to Cover Any Costs for In-Person Instruction. Funding may cover any costs associated with providing in-person instruction, including COVID-19 testing, cleaning and disinfection; personal protective equipment;, ventilation and facilities upgrades; staff compensation to provide in-person instruction; and social and mental health supports. Funds are available through August 31, 2022.

Requires COVID-19 Reporting. Assembly Bill 86 also requires both public and private schools to report COVID-19 cases to the local public health department within 24 hours after learning about a positive case. Schools must report positive cases among school staff and students known to have been on campus while infectious. The report must include certain information, such as the identity of the individual who tested positive, the date of the positive test, and the school sites that may be affected. The local public health department may disclose this information under certain circumstances, such as to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for case investigation purposes. Beginning March 15, 2021, a single school site with two or more COVID-19 outbreaks, as identified by the local public health department or CDPH, will be subject to a CDPH safety review.

Provides $25 Million for CDPH. Funding will support the statewide cross-agency Safe Schools for All team led by CDPH and focused on school reopening. The cross-agency team provides and coordinates statewide technical assistance, community engagement, increased transparency, and enforcement related to school reopening.

Expanded Learning Grants

Provides $4.6 Billion for Expanded Learning and Other Student Support. The intent of the funding is to expand in-person instructional time and provide academic interventions and student supports to mitigate learning loss. The vast majority of funds are to be distributed to LEAs based on their share of total 2020‑21 LCFF allotments. Assembly Bill 86 also provides LEAs with $1,000 for every homeless student enrolled and provides the State Special Schools with $725 per student. (The California Department of Education operates three special schools—two for deaf and hard of hearing students and one for blind and visually impaired students.) Funds are intended for LEAs to prioritize students who would benefit most from in-person instruction, such as low-income students, English learners, foster youth, homeless youth, students with disabilities, and students with failing grades. Funds are available through August 31, 2022.

Allows Funding to Be Used for a Variety of Activities, With Some Specific Requirements. Assembly Bill 86 outlines several broad categories of allowable uses of the funds, including increasing instructional time, providing academic or support services, or staff training. In addition, the legislation specifies that LEAs are to implement a learning recovery program that, at a minimum, provides supplemental instruction, support for social and emotional well-being, and meals and snacks to high-needs students. LEAs must use 85 percent of their apportionments to fund in-person activities, allowing up to 15 percent of the funding to be used to increase or improve services for pupils participating in distance learning, or to support the preparation of LEAs to return to in-person instruction. Additionally, LEAs must set aside 10 percent of their apportionments to hire paraprofessionals, such as instructional aides, to provide supplemental support and instruction through the duration of the grant program.

Requires a Public Plan for How Funds Will Be Spent. Assembly Bill 86 requires each local governing board to adopt a public plan that describes how funding must be spent. In addition, the plan must describe how the LEA plans on using the funding in coordination with one-time federal funding provided in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, signed into law December 2020. The plan must be adopted in a public meeting by June 1, 2021. Chapter 10 also requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education to develop a template for this plan. The template must include (1) a plan for assessing the needs of students and informing the parents of the students they identify in need of academic support, and (2) an expenditure plan, which must indicate how much of the awarded funds will be allocated for each of the allowable uses. Addendums must be updated when actual expenditure data is available.

Provides $5 Million for California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE). The funding is for CCEE to provide support to LEAs, beginning May 1, 2021, to maximize positive student outcomes. The specific support to LEAs can include guidance on the effective use of diagnostic and formative assessments, curricular resources, best practices for contacting and reengaging disengaged students, models for providing supplemental instruction, and models to address student social-emotional needs. Funding must be spent by June 30, 2023.