GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon

Published: July 31, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) PandemicRecon

GovWin's SLED Coronavirus Recon, produced by Deltek's SLED Market Research team, is designed to support awareness and understanding of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by state, local, and educational (SLED) entities and the contractors that support them.

General

Funding & Economic Impact

  • What's in the Senate's relief bill for state and local tech? Nothing, yet
    • More than two months after the House of Representative passed a $3 trillion pandemic rescue package that included nearly $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments, as well as funds for broadband expansion to support telemedicine, distance learning and election assistance grants, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week introduced his much slimmer counteroffer, prompting disappointment from state and local leaders desperate for help.
  • Michigan Funding $8.5 Million In COVID-19 Safety Grants for Small Businesses
    • The State of Michigan is launching a COVID safety grant program for small businesses. About $8.5 million will be on offer in total.
  • (Nevada) Gov. Sisolak demands flexible federal funding for states in COVID-19 relief plan
    • Following the Senate GOP's proposal for the next release of COVID-119 relief funds, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak released a statement regarding the proposal's lack of flexible funding for states and local governments.
    • In his statement, the governor reiterated his stance that Congress must make available flexible funds for states and municipalities in order for them to have a more effective and quicker recovery.
  • Treasury report: Less than 25% of state and local emergency funds used as congressional debate heats up
    • US states and localities have used less than 25% of the funds allocated by Congress to address coronavirus relief efforts, according to a new report from the Treasury Department.
    • The report underscores an issue that bedeviled state and local officials in the wake of the passage of the $2.2 trillion emergency economic relief package -- that strict federal rules designed to ensure the funds are spent on Covid-related expenses has kept much of the money bottled up in local coffers, even as these places face huge budget shortfalls.
  • Michigan Strategic Fund approves $41.9M for COVID-19 response fund
    • The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved the second amendment of the 2019 Program Year Action Plan for $41.9 million to be incorporated in Community Development Block Grant’s (CDBG) Coronavirus Response funds.
  • Florida sees $2 billion loss in 2020 budget due to coronavirus
    • Florida finished fiscal 2020 with a nearly $2 billion loss in the state's general revenue fund because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • New projections show Connecticut’s budget is weathering the coronavirus pandemic better than expected; tax receipts $200M higher
    • State government’s coffers have swelled by hundreds of millions of dollars since the coronavirus struck in mid-March, despite warnings of a nearly $1 billion deficit just three months ago.
  • (Wisconsin) WEDC Sec. Hughes Outlines Impact Of COVID-19 On State's Economy, Complexity Of Recovery
    • Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes briefed lawmakers Thursday on the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wisconsin's economy, saying the impact has been "as broad as possible." Hughes stressed to lawmakers that the best way to restart the economy is to control the virus. But she acknowledged that Wisconsin is far from that point, saying the state remains in the middle of its coronavirus outbreak.
  • South Carolina’s budget was full of millions to help teachers, state prisons. Then COVID-19 hit.
    • Now state budget forecasters say most of the extra cash lawmakers had hoped to spend in the budget ending June 30, 2021, has been cut back dramatically — by an estimated $1.2 billion — leaving lawmakers with about $700 million to spend in the upcoming budget, based on current projections. And this fall the budget could hit another snag if the economy struggles more resulting in the downward revision of that $700 million projection.
  • (Maine) State projects $523.9 million revenue loss due to COVID-19
    • The State’s updated revenue forecasting report that was announced by the Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC) Wednesday shows Maine’s revenue will decrease by $523.9 million in the current budget cycle, which ends in June 2021, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Connecticut’s coffers have swelled — not shrunk — during COVID
    • State government’s coffers have swelled by hundreds of millions of dollars since the coronavirus struck in mid-March, despite warnings of a nearly $1 billion deficit just three months ago.
    • Connecticut’s rainy day fund, which stood at $2.5 billion when the pandemic struck, now approaches $2.8 billion, according to an ongoing review of thousands of state tax returns filed after July 15.
  • As Congress debates additional pandemic relief money, Minnesota debates how to spend the last of what it got in March
    • Since then, the state has allocated $2.74 billion of those funds, some of which has gone out in big chunks — $317 million to Hennepin and Ramsey counties; $841 million to other cities, counties and townships throughout the state — and small ones: the Office of Administrative Hearings got $6,391 to broadcast remote hearings and to buy masks and sanitizers for in-person ones.
  • Vermont sees unexpected revenue boost after July tax filings
    • The state saw more revenue than expected after residents and businesses filed their 2019 tax returns this month, which will help the state as it weathers the economic strain and budget woes accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • As of July 28, the state had received $160 million in additional tax revenue in July. Some $51 million of that will be used to close out the fiscal year 2020 budget, which ended June 30.
  • (Wisconsin) UW System, State Government Looking At Budget Cuts
    • Evers announced Wednesday he was calling for $250 million in new cuts from state agencies for this fiscal year, which began on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2021.
  • (Hawaii) Gov. Ige holds back on CARES Act money spending
    • The governor has signed a bill to release hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding to fight COVID-19. The state legislature had proposed that the governor spend more of the CARES Act money. But the governor says he wants to first see what Congress does with the next round of federal aid.
  • Details surrounding $644.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding for Virginia's local governments
    • Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the Commonwealth will distribute $644.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to local governments in its second and final round of allocations.

Higher Education

  • 'The virus beat us': Colleges are increasingly going online for fall 2020 semester as COVID-19 cases rise
    • Call it coronavirus déjà vu. After planning ways to reopen campuses this fall, colleges are increasingly changing their minds, dramatically increasing online offerings or canceling in-person classes outright. 
  • (Ohio) Colleges Consider Layoffs as COVID-19 Wreaks Financial Havoc
    • The University of Akron board of trustees had voted to eliminate 178 positions, including 96 unionized faculty, in an effort to balance the budget. The cuts amounted to nearly 10% of the staff. The university was already facing a $65 million budget deficit for this fiscal year and the pandemic outbreak further upended its finances, says University of Akron President Gary L. Miller. Layoffs are an essential step in order to cut costs and remain sustainable.
    • Two hundred and twenty-four institutions have joined the ranks of the University of Akron by not renewing employment contracts or by announcing layoffs and furloughs, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education's layoffs tracker.
  • (New York) COVID-19’s impact on higher education
    • As for the state travel advisory, students coming from a state on that list of quarantine states will be required to quarantine upon arrival for 14 days. All SUNY campuses will provide a place for those students to quarantine on campus.
    • SUNY says arrangements are made for each campus to issue a pro-rated refund or credit for fall 2020 and the student’s option for housing and dining fees.
  • (New Jersey) Office of the Secretary of Higher Education to award more than $68 million in governor’s emergency education relief funds to NJ colleges and universities
    • Given the significant financial burdens that institutions of higher education are facing due to the unprecedented public health emergency, Governor Phil Murphy focused the state’s GEER funds on New Jersey postsecondary institutions.
    • Grants to institutions will be based on an OSHE-developed allocation rationale that incorporates priority populations from the New Jersey State Higher Education Plan.
  • Alabama rolls out plan to test every college student for coronavirus
    • The state of Alabama released new details about its plan, called GuideSafe, to test more than 200,000 college students for COVID-19 before they return to campus

K-12 Education

  • State won't collect, release data on coronavirus cases in Tennessee schools
    • A day after a top official in Gov. Bill Lee's administration said Tennessee plans to withhold the number of COVID-19 cases in schools from the public, a spokesperson said the information will not even be collected by the state. 
  • Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act introduced
    • A $430 billion bill has been introduced to address the national child care and education crises and provide relief to students, families, schools, and educators across the country.
    • The bill will provide an investment to ensure that child care providers can remain open, and that K-12 schools and colleges can address a variety of issues including implementing public health measures, addressing learning loss among students, and providing emergency financial assistance to post-secondary students.
  • Senate Leadership releases HEALS Act COVID-19 relief bill, includes support for education, child care
    • The proposal provides $105 billion to help get students back to school and provide for the continued learning of all students in elementary and secondary education and higher education.
    • To support afterschool programs, afterschool is an allowable use for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which is allotted to receive $70 billion. A new proposal of $6.2 billion to support 21st CCLC afterschool programs was also suggested.
    • Two-thirds of this funding would be available only to help schools with additional costs of reopening for in-person instruction.
  • Secretary DeVos Awards More than $180 Million to States Rethinking K-12 Education to Better Meet Students’ Needs During Coronavirus Disruption
    • U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced more than $180 million in new grant funding will be awarded to 11 states rethinking education to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant will support states’ efforts to create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs. Awardees include Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. The awards range from $6 million to $20 million.
  • New York Schools Awarded Nearly $20 Million In Critical Federal Funding To Address Covid-19 Crisis
    • The Board of Regents and New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced that the United States Department of Education (USDE) awarded NYSED almost $20 million for the K-12 Rethink Grant. This will provide more than 190,000 teachers and educational leaders across this State with a combined 450,000 hours of professional support to implement effective practices in remote/hybrid teaching and learning which, in turn, will reach an estimated two million students.
  • (Nevada) Gov. Sisolak issues stricter mask requirements for K-12 students
    • Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has issued an emergency directive requiring all K-12 students to wear cloth face coverings at school.
    • The new mandate was disclosed in a press release from the Nevada Department of Education, which went over additional guidelines in Emergency Directive 028, including reducing social distance requirements for pre-school, elementary and middle school students from 6 feet to 3 feet.
  • South Carolina receives $15M Rethink K-12 Education grant
    • South Carolina's application, once carried out, will: increase availability of remote learning resources to students and teachers in areas of S.C. that lack broadband access; improve education resources for specific, identified gaps by developing and curating engaging, high-quality content; increase teacher experience, confidence, and proficiency with remote learning technology and resources; improve communication between families, teachers, and schools to support remote learning.
  • Delaware officials eye mix of remote, in-person classes
    • Public schools in Delaware will likely reopen with a mix of remote and in-person classes, although each school district will make its own decision on how to begin the academic year, Gov. John Carney said.
  • Utah legislature to hold hearings on school re-opening plans
    • Following a call by the state's largest teacher's union to delay the start of in-person classroom learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Utah State Legislature plans to hold hearings on classroom safety.
  • COVID-19 Puts New York State Education Budget Increase in Peril
    • Despite the New York state legislature approving the 2020-2021 budget in April with a slight increase in education funding, upwards of 20 percent could still be cut in the fall as the economy continues to suffer.
  • Rural Georgia's Back-To-School Blues: COVID-19 Spreads Fast, Internet's Slow
    • For some rural Georgia students, a heightened spread of COVID-19 combined with low internet availability could create disconnects that prevent them from doing online schoolwork.
    • The federal CARES Act sent $13.5 billion into the country’s  K-12 schools, including $411 million to help mitigate the harm of the pandemic in Georgia classrooms. More federal money could be on the way as Congress considers a $1 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes $70 billion for schools, though a requirement for schools to reopen for face-to-face instruction to receive full funding could complicate the bill’s passage. 

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Natural Resources/Environment