Legislative Update: Phase Three Stimulus Bill Analysis and OCTAE Guidance


Legislative Update: Phase Three Stimulus Bill Analysis and OCTAE Guidance

The federal government is continuing to respond to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) through legislation and guidance. Read below to learn more about what was in the most recent stimulus bill and guidance affecting the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).
Administration Signs Phase Three Stimulus into Law
On Friday, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), or the CARES Act into law. The CARES Act is the third stimulus package in response to Coronavirus and provides $2.2 trillion for economic relief and resources. There are a number of ways that Perkins V is implicated in the CARES Act. 

  • National Emergency Education Waivers
    This bill provides opportunities for the state educational agency (SEA), Indian tribe or local educational agency (LEA) to request waivers of certain statutory and regulatory provisions. The waiver request must name the federal programs affected, identify the statutory or regulatory requirements that need to be waived, explain how the pandemic prevents ability to comply with the statutory or regulatory requirements and detail how the SEA, Indian Tribe or LEA will prevent any downsides of the waiver. 30 days after enactment of the law, the U.S. Secretary of Education will provide a report to the Senate Committees on Appropriations and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and the House Committees on Appropriations and Education and Labor with additional recommendations or waivers under Perkins V and other federal laws. 
    However, 13 states currently have selected a state agency other than the SEA to administer the state’s Perkins funds, also known as the Perkins eligible agency.The CARE’s National Emergency Education Waiver language does not grant this waiver authority to these 13 state agencies with regard to Perkins. Advance CTE is actively advocating for this flexibility to be extended to all Perkins eligible agencies.
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
    SEAs can apply for emergency relief grants to be used in elementary and secondary schools. Applications must be submitted within 30 days of this bill having been signed, and will be reviewed within 30 days. An LEA that receives money from this grant can use funding for activities under Perkins V, among other federal laws. 

Check out this blog post for additional information about what education and workforce programs are covered in the CARES Act. 
A fact sheet from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions can be found here and the full text can be viewed here
Department Shares Guidance on Perkins V During Coronavirus Pandemic 
On Tuesday, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) within the U.S. Department of Education published guidance on Career Technical Education (CTE) in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic. The guidance includes an extension for states to submit their Perkins V state plans from the original due date of April 15, 2020. If a state submits its plan by June 15, 2020, OCTAE will review by June 30, 2020 and the first installment of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Perkins funding will follow the July 1, 2020 schedule. If a state is unable to submit its plan by June 15, 2020, the Department will use authority to extend the transition plan period by three months (to September 30, 2020). In this instance the first FY20 Perkins funding installment will still take place on July 1, 2020, with the condition that the state will submit its full plan by September 15, 2020. 
Additionally, this guidance allows states to award a Perkins V subgrant to a local recipient before fully approving the local application. States can also grant local recipients more time to complete their local applications, beyond the original due date of July 1, 2020. 
A statement on the guidelines from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos can be found here.
You can find a full statement on this guidance from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) here.  

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate