It’s now been about a month since U.S. public schools began closing in response to the novel coronavirus. During that time charter school leaders have scrambled to put in place distance learning, get kids fed, support staff in learning to work virtually, communicate with parents, and navigate numerous other unanticipated challenges. Leaders juggling so many competing demands hardly have time to pay attention to what’s coming out of Washington. But federal coronavirus response legislation passed in March has numerous implications for charters, along with other public schools and education nonprofits.
That’s why Bellwether teamed up with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on a new resource to help charter school leaders and support organizations understand how recent federal legislation might affect their schools and students. This resource looks at five areas in which the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) affect public charter schools, including:
- New paid sick and family leave requirements that affect charter schools as employers
- Financial assistance for small- and mid-sized businesses and nonprofits that charter schools may be eligible to access
- Provisions that support elementary and secondary schools and state education systems in preventing, preparing for, and responding to effects of the novel coronavirus
- Non-education funding streams and flexibilities that charter schools and other public schools or education nonprofits may be able to use to cover costs associated with responding the novel coronavirus or better serve children, families, and communities during this public health emergency
- Provisions related to student loans and the Corporation for National and Community Service that may affect some charter school employees
The “paycheck protection program” loans available to small businesses (including nonprofits and sole proprietorships) through the CARES Act have drawn considerable attention, but most analyses do not address the unique considerations that charter schools must take into account in considering whether or not to pursue these programs. Further, numerous other CARES Act programs and provisions that have gotten less attention can be used to support coronavirus-related costs incurred by education organizations or meet needs of children, families, and communities they serve. For example: Continue reading