GovWin SLED Weekly Coronavirus Recon

Published: January 22, 2021

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

  • $17 million to be allocated through Iowa COVID-19 Local Government Relief Fund
    • In a press release Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced a reallocation of relief money to local governments in the state who need assistance due to the pandemic.
    • The Local Government Relief Fund has received a large influx after Thursday’s announcement, bumping up the fund’s allocation from $4.7 million to $17 million across the state of Iowa. Gov. Reynolds chose the move due to small cities across the state who don’t have the budgets necessary to handle certain public services. In her statement, she said, “In so many ways COVID-19 has changed the way government serves its citizens, and perhaps the greatest impact has been at the local level. These resources will provide County and City governments with additional assistance to provide essential services to Iowans as they continue to combat the pandemic.”
  • (Massachusetts) General local aid will rise by $39.5M in Baker budget
    • Gov. Charlie Baker next week will file a budget that recommends increasing the state’s $1.13 billion general local aid account by $39.5 million, keeping with his administration’s past practice to align growth in non-school aid for the cities and towns with estimated increases in tax revenue for the coming year.
  • (Alabama) State repurposing $72 million in CARES Act funds
    • A decision by the state to repurpose $72 million in coronavirus relief funds may cost cities and towns across Alabama millions of dollars, with the City of Athens potentially on the hook for more than $230,000, an official said.
  • Casino revenue in Pennsylvania, New Jersey suffered in 2020 from the pandemic. So did taxes, at least in Pennsylvania.
    • Casino revenue fell significantly last year in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, not a surprise considering the prolonged closure of gaming properties due to the pandemic. But the impact on tax revenues in the two states could not be more different.
    • In Pennsylvania, state and local government collected $317 million less in tax revenue from gambling, down 22%, according to data released Tuesday by the state. But in New Jersey state tax revenue actually increased slightly over 2019, even though total gaming revenue was down 17% due to casino closures.
  • (New York) State budget leaves local leaders with more questions than answers
    • Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Fiscal Year 2022 budget presentation left something to be desired for local officials.
    • In an hourlong speech, the governor focused largely on what New York State's share of the $350 billion allocated for state and local government aid under President-elect Joe Biden's American Rescue plan would turn out to be.
  • Louisiana to get $2B in federal virus aid, but with strings
    • Louisiana expects to receive at least $2 billion in coronavirus aid from the latest relief package passed by Congress, but state officials don’t yet know what strings are attached and how much of the cash could help patch budget holes next year.
  • Biden relief proposal includes $350 billion for state and local government
    • The COVID-19 rescue package President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday he plans to introduce upon taking office includes $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, which have pleaded for months that they need more federal assistance to overcome steep budget gaps created by the health crisis and its economic shutdowns.
  • $1.8 billion budgeted in Rhode Island for COVID-19 response so far
    • The state of Rhode Island has now budgeted more than $1.8 billion to cover costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from supplies and tests to financial assistance for local hospitals.
  • Connecticut budget leaders want to use massive savings to expand COVID-19 relief
    • Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration expects to spend about $630 million less than legislators authorized, an amount nearly matching the cost of the state’s entire prison system and one-third of the state budget reserve.
    • And while this massive savings is driven largely by federal coronavirus relief — covering costs Connecticut normally pays for itself —key lawmakers are questioning whether the state should be redirecting its own dollars, rather than saving them, to meet other pandemic-related needs.
  • Arbitrary spending of COVID funds in Kansas will 'fail to spur a recovery'
    • Kansas was awarded $1 billionin CARES Act funding. Local governments received $400 million to assist with coronavirus-related needs in their communities. So far, funds have been used to set up a homeless encampment in Lawrence County, upgrade an emergency response radio system and open a grocery store in Bourbon County, among other uses.
    • If federal auditors determine that a state's spending wasn't related to the pandemic, they can demand the funds be returned to Washington.
  • New York Governor announces Fiscal Year 2022 budget
    • The Budget Bill includes a variety of proposals, including treating federal S corporations as S corporations for franchise tax purposes, subjecting vacation rentals to New York sales tax, extending and amending film tax credit programs, and extending alternative fuels tax exemptions.
  • (Maryland) Here's what you need to know about Gov. Hogan's budget proposal
    • Governor Hogan’s proposed budget is a $49.3 billion spending plan that would include tax cuts and billions of dollars for education and COVID-19 relief.
  • (Rhode Island) $1.8 billion budgeted in RI for COVID-19 response so far
    • Out of the latest total, $1.1 billion has actually been spent and $329 million has been encumbered. The remaining $364 million has been budgeted based on an estimate of future spending.

Procurement

Higher Education

  • Spring term delays: New wave of coronavirus uncertainty slams higher education
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study of what happened at the outset of the fall semester in counties that are home to universities with at least 20,000 students. The report found that the incidence of infection tended to decline where schools taught remotely and rise where schools taught in person. The CDC said schools can limit spread of the virus through measures such as mask-wearing, social distancing and expansion of viral testing. Regulating behavior outside the classroom is crucial: College and university leaders say the virus spreads much more off campus than in academic spaces.
  • University of Illinois tuition hike, delayed because of COVID-19, will kick in next year, as trustees consider room and board cost increase
    • The University of Illinois will become more expensive for some in-state students next fall if the board of trustees agrees to raise fees for housing and campus services.
    • Despite concerns about the ballooning cost of college, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, university officials are expected to propose the increases at a meeting of the board’s academic and student affairs committee.
  • (Wisconsin) UW System campuses face a defining crisis as COVID-19 compounds longstanding challenges
    • Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s public higher education institutions faced tougher financial trends than their peers nationally because of stagnant state funding, tuition freeze, and demographic challenges that have led to fewer high school graduates. The state’s ranking for revenues per full-time student fell from 24th-highest nationally in 2000 to 41st-lowest in 2019 for its public colleges and universities.
  • (Connecticut) CT budget leaders want to use massive savings to expand COVID-19 relief
    • Connecticut’s public colleges and universities all face major deficits due in large part to the coronavirus, which has boosted costs while weakening revenue from tuition and room and board fees.
    • The Board of Regents for Higher Education, which oversees the community colleges and the regional state university system, is trying to cover a $45 million shortfall.
  • Biden Plans to Forgive Some Federal Student Loans
    • Under Biden’s plan, individuals making $25,000 or less per year would not have to make loan payments, and interest would not accrue on these loans.
  • University of Hawaii and Department of Education brace for budget cuts
    • Governor Ige said the University of Hawaii will have to make a $70 million cut to its 2022 and 2023 FY budgets; and the Department of Education would have to cut 70 positions and $165.6 million in programs for both the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years.

K-12 Education

  • Many Schools Face Budget Problems As COVID-19 Pandemic Continues
    • While public sentiment across the country has been split on the concept of schools reopening during the pandemic and its recent surges, the economic impact on school districts may mean the decision to send students back to school may be soon be taken out of parents’ hands. Education budgets have taken a huge hit due to COVID-19 and some schools are facing the reality of possibly closing for good.
  • Federal COVID funding varies 100-fold across Michigan schools
    • A Bridge Michigan analysis found funds received and expected to be received by Michigan school districts in federal COVID relief can vary by more than 100-fold on a per-student basis.
    • There are 189 school districts and charter schools receiving federal relief funds equivalent to more than $2,000 per student, and 41 getting less than $200 per student.
  • NYC’s Success Academy charter schools will stay remote for the rest of the school year
    • Success Academy, New York City’s largest charter school network, will remain in remote learning for the rest of the school year, officials announced Thursday. The 20,000-student network will also end this school year one month early in May and start the next school year in August — a month earlier than planned.
  • (Nevada) Some CCSD teachers got vaccinated, but official drive due next week
    • The school district has operated with 100 percent distance learning since mid-March due to the pandemic. The School Board voted last week to allow students to return to school campuses on a voluntary basis for academic and mental health interventions, possibly as soon as late February. Education and elected officials have said that ensuring employees who want to be vaccinated are able to receive both doses and build immunity is key to the limited reopening.
  • College Board is scrapping SAT’s optional essay and subject tests
    • The College Board announced that it will discontinue those assessments. The testing organization, based in New York, also revealed the launch of a process to revise the main SAT, aiming to make the admission test “more flexible” and “streamlined” and enable students to take the exam digitally instead of with pencil and paper. There were few details available on how the main SAT might be changed.
  • (Pennsylvania) Gov. Wolf: $2.2 Billion in COVID-19 Funds Help K-12 Schools Improve Services to Students
    • Governor Tom Wolf is dedicating $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds to K-12 school districts and charter schools affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to support food programs, technological improvements and other education services.
  • Biden Announces Executive Actions Meant To Help Reopen Schools
    • President Biden has called reopening schools a "national emergency" and said he wants to see most K-12 schools in the United States open during his first 100 days in office, which would be between now and April. The executive orders pertained to more PPE, COVID testing, vaccines for teachers, better national data collection, student visa application processing, and extending pandemic relief from student loan payments.
  • (Georgia) State budget restores funding for growing K-12, university enrollments
    • Full funding of student enrollment growth after a year of budget cuts would come as a great relief to Georgia’s public schools, the state’s top K-12 education official said.
  • Teachers are next in line for the Covid vaccine, paving the way for schools to reopen
    • As Covid-19 cases spike across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have prioritized teachers and school staff as “essential workers,” making them next in line to get the vaccine.
  • Maryland Department of Education Announces More Than $780 Million in Federal COVID-19 Relief for Maryland K-12 Public Schools
    • Maryland State Department of Education Superintendent Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D. announced $781 million in additional funding to assist Maryland schools and students recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding, allocated through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, provides grant awards directly to local school systems and the SEED School to assist in reopening classrooms, assess and address learning loss, provide targeted tutoring and other initiatives to help alleviate the impacts of the pandemic.
  • (New York) Gov. Cuomo announces proposal to open low-cost finance, design, construction services to all non-profits, school districts
    • Through this program, non-profit organizations and school districts can access the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York’s (DASNY) services for needed improvements at lower costs during COVID-19 so they can spend their resources on vital services.

Health Care

Social Services 

Justice/Public Safety

  • COVID-19 Extends Sentences for Some Incarcerated People
    • The COVID-19 infection rate in prisons is four times higher than that in the general U.S. population. Yet even as family members, incarcerated people and advocates urge states to release who they can in order to reduce deaths, some states have gone in the opposite direction—keeping incarcerated people from taking advantage of early release programs.
  • (Georgia) One City Uses Cameras to Monitor COVID-19 Safety Compliance
    • In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, Peachtree Corners, Ga., is using new camera technology that is capable of monitoring whether city hall visitors wear masks and practice social distancing.

Transportation

Public Utilities

Community Development/Housing

  • Tennessee to draw $458M federal aid for housing rent relief
    • Tennessee housing officials say the state will receive about $458 million in federal COVID-19 money for rent relief.
    • The Tennessee Housing Development Agency says it is setting up a web portal and call center and preparing staff to review and process thousands of payments to landlords and utility providers.