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Notice for public comment regarding extension of 2020 CARES Act funding flexibility waiver

Date: 
Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) is seeking public comment on its request to extend the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding flexibility waiver, originally granted by the U.S. Department of Education on April 21, 2020, for one additional fiscal year. This extension, like the original waiver authorized under section 3511 of Division A of the CARES Act, will be submitted on behalf of the state educational agency (SEA) and its subgrantees (e.g., local educational agencies (LEAs)) to waive the following checked requirements:

  • [x] Carryover limitation in section 1127(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) for federal fiscal year (FY) 2020 Title I, Part A funds (i.e., the Title I, Part A funds that will become carryover funds on October 1, 2021): the requirement that limits an SEA’s ability to grant to its LEAs a waiver of the 15 percent Title I, Part A carryover limitation in section 1127(a) more than once every three years.
  • [x] Period of availability of funds in section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA): to extend the period of availability of FY 2019 funds for programs listed below until September 30, 2022. The programs are: 
    • [x] Title I, Part A of the ESEA (Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs), including the portions of the SEA’s Title I, Part A award used to carry out section 1003 school improvement, and Title I, Part D, Subpart 2
    • [x] Title I, Part B of the ESEA (State Assessment Formula Grants)
    • [  ] Title I, Part C of the ESEA (Education of Migratory Children)
    • [  ] Title I, Part D, Subpart 1 of the ESEA (Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk)
    • [x] Title II, Part A of the ESEA (Supporting Effective Instruction)
    • [x] Title III, Part A of the ESEA (English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement)
    • [x] Title IV, Part A of the ESEA (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants) Title IV, Part B of the ESEA (21st Century Community Learning Centers)
    • [x] Title V, Part B, Subpart 2 of the ESEA (Rural and Low-Income School Program) 
    • [  ] McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program
  • [x] The following requirements in Title IV, Part A of the ESEA. NOTE: The following Title IV, Part A requirements are for LEAs that received $30,000 or more in funds: 
  • Needs assessment requirements in section 4106(d) for the 2021-2022 school year. 
  • Content area spending requirements in section 4106(e)(2)(C), (D), and (E): the requirements to use a minimum percentage of Title IV, Part A funds for activities under sections 4107, 4108, and 4109 for FY 2021 funds.
  • Spending limitation in section 4109(b): the 15 percent limit on the use of funds under section 4109 to purchase technology infrastructure for FY 2021 funds and any available FY 2019 or FY 2020 carryover funds.
  • [x] The definition of professional development in section 8101(42) of the ESEA for the 2021-2022 school year.

The Department is requesting an extension of this CARES Act funding flexibility waiver for an additional fiscal year because it is not possible to obligate these funds on a timely basis, as originally planned, due to school closures in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Iowa would benefit from increased flexibility in the use of Title IV, Part A funds to support continuity of services due to these school closures.

The extension of these funds would enable the Department and its subrecipients to continue to increase the quality of instruction for students, improve academic achievement, and assist the populations served by the programs for which this waiver is being requested. In addition, the waiver extensions will allow for educators to engage in professional development to meet the immediate needs of our students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is providing Iowa stakeholders with notice of the opportunity to submit comments on this request. Comments or letters of support are due via email to ESSA@iowa.gov by the close of business on Friday, July 2, 2021. All questions should be directed to ESSA@iowa.gov or Geri McMahon at 515-281-3944 or geri.mcmahon@iowa.gov. Thank you for your consideration.

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on September 22, 2021 at 1:54am.