Important Federal Updates

Dear Superintendents,

There are several important updates from the federal level and two memos from our department. Welcome to 2021!

U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

As you likely know U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, resigned. In her resignation letter, Secretary DeVos clearly expressed the reasons for resigning and outlined several successes during her tenure.

Looking forward, President-Elect Biden has nominated Dr. Miguel Cardona as his pick for U.S. Secretary of Education. Dr. Cardona is the current State Superintendent in Connecticut.

CARES II FUNDING FOR STATES

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CARES II) was signed into law on December 27, 2021. The Wyoming Department of Education is working to set up the state allocation and distribution process for the new Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds. Here are a few stats about the new funding:

  • $81.9 billion in the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) for higher education, K-12, Bureau of Indian Education, and other education entities.
  • $54.3 billion (67% of the total ESF) for K-12 education (new ESSER II funds).
  • $21.7 billion for higher education (HEER).
  • $4.1 billion for governors (GEER).
  • Wyoming’s allocation for K-12 schools is substantially higher than last spring (approximately $135 million for K-12).
  • Allocations are based on relative share of Title I, Part A.

CARES II funds are to be used for emergency needs to address issues responding to the coronavirus, including measuring and addressing learning loss, which may be addressed through the use of grants and contracts.

Allowable use of funds is similar for ESSER I and ESSER II with key differences, including the period of availability, equitable services to non-public schools, maintenance of effort, and a report on efforts to measure and address learning loss. ESSER I funds should be expended before ESSER II funds are used. Here is a fact sheet that offers further details.

Our staff at WDE can provide technical assistance and will offer a webinar once we receive adequate information about the funds, purpose, timeline, and process.

SCHOOL NUTRITION

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted nationwide waivers, through June 30, 2021, to support access to nutritious meals while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19. These waivers relate to the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Seamless Summer Option, and the Summer Food Service Program.


botanic

I spent time with family over the holidays and took this photo of my great nieces and nephew at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.


Memos to be released today: