Public comment sought on Kentucky waivers for flexibility on K-12 education funding

Kentucky Department of Education, education funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is accepting public comments for Kentucky’s waivers for flexibility on K-12 education funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act provides flexibility in K-12 education funding, particularly the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), with additional flexibility through waivers of specific requirements.

Pursuant to the authority under the CARES Act, Kentucky may request waivers of the following provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA:

  • Section 1127(b) of Title I, Part A of the ESEA so that your state education agency (SEA) may waive, more than once every three years, if necessary, the 15% carryover limitation in ESEA section 1127(a) for fiscal year 2019 Title I, Part A funds.
  • Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act to extend the period of availability of fiscal year 2018 funds for programs in which your SEA participates under its approved consolidated State plan until Sept. 30, 2021.
  • Section 4106(d) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA related to local educational agency (LEA) needs assessments for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Section 4106(e)(2)(C), (D) and (E) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA with respect to content-area spending requirements for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 Title IV, Part A funds.
  • Section 4109(b) of Title IV, Part A of the ESEA with respect to the spending limitation for technology infrastructure for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 Title IV, Part A funds.
  • Section 8101(42) of the ESEA, which defines “professional development” for activities funded for the 2019-2020 school year.

Through these waivers, KDE would be able to approve a district to carry over more than 15% of its Title I, Part A funds, even if the district received approval to exceed this limitation in the past three years. The KDE would be able to extend for itself and its subgrantees the period of availability of fiscal year 2018 funds for programs included in Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan to allow additional time to obligate those funds.

The KDE also would be able to permit a district or consortium of LEAs to use Title IV, Part A funds to best meet its needs without regard to content-area spending requirements, spending limits on technology infrastructure, or completing a needs assessment.

Finally, by waiving the definition of professional development, the KDE and subgrantees would be able to conduct time-sensitive, one-time or stand-alone professional development focused on supporting educators to provide effective distance learning.

The waiver request can be publicly accessed online. Public comments must be received by 5 p.m. ET April 13. Comments may be emailed to [email protected] or submitted to Todd Allen, Interim General Counsel, Kentucky Department of Education, 300 Sower Blvd, 5th Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601. Comments also may be submitted via fax at (502) 564-9321.