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Federal officials are making it easier to spend existing federal funds and future stimulus funds on previously unanticipated needs directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below, we've outlined details on the funding flexibility. But I want to emphasize the most important flexibility districts will have with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) stimulus funding, which includes more than $160 million allocated directly to Oklahoma schools based on the Title I formula. Districts will be able to spend the stimulus money to maintain operations, services and current staffing levels. 

Most education dollars are spent on people -- educators directly serving students and support staff who are helping in classrooms, interacting with families and ensuring our children are fed and safely transported to and from school. A major focus of federal stimulus funding so far has been to help workers keep working. The bottom line for schools is that your district can use the CARES stimulus money to help keep your employees at work, which is necessary to stabilize class sizes and educational opportunities. Districts can calculate their stimulus revenue at approximately equal to 83% of this year’s Title I, Part A allocation.

Flexibility for existing federal funds (Oklahoma Department of Education waiver request received preliminary federal approval on April 7)

  • Waives 15% carryover limit for Title I, Part A.
  •  Extends the time limit for spending federal funds. School districts have until September 30, 2021, to spend FY2018 federal funds. This waiver includes Title I, Parts A-D, Title II, Title III, Part A, Title IV, Parts A-B, Title V, Part B programs, and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth program.  
  • Waives the following Title IV, Part A provisions:
    • annual needs assessment,
    • content area spending requirements, and 
    • technology spending limits.
  • Waives the federal definition of professional development. This change will allow districts to use federal funding for a broader range of professional development that meets your teachers needs in this unique time.
CARES stimulus funds allowable expenses
  • Maintain operation, services and staffing levels;
  • Coordinate preparation, prevention and response efforts related to the coronavirus with state, local and tribal health officials;
  • Equip principals and school leaders with resources to address school-based needs;
  • Deliver services to at-risk and minority students;
  • Develop and implement procedures to improve school preparedness and response efforts; 
  • Train and offer professional development to staff on sanitizing and minimizing the spread of disease;
  • Buy cleaning supplies;
  • Plan/coordinate long-term closures, including meal provisions, technology for online learning and guidance for special education services;
  • Buy educational technology (including hardware, software and connectivity) for online learning for students. This may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment for students with disabilities;  
  • Provide mental health services and supports;  and
  • Prepare and offer summer learning activities, including summer after-school programs and continuing services to at-risk and minority students.
Please contact me if you have questions or need additional information. My mobile number is 580.747.0179 or you can email me at You can also contact any member of the OSSBA team if you need a listening ear or assistance with academic and/or financial planning. We’re here to help. 


Shawn Hime, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Copyright © 2020 The Oklahoma State School Boards Association, All rights reserved.

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